Temperature and salinity data in the Arctic Ocean.

A comprehensive quality-checked data set of observations since 1980

Fig. 1: Distribution of collected oceanographic profiles for the years 1980-2015 (approximately 300,000 profiles)
(Photo: Dr. Axel Behrendt, AWI)

Since the early 20th century hydrographic measurements have been carried out in the Arctic Ocean. Although today the Arctic is a hotspot of climate change, data sampling is still sparse due to the large sea ice cover. Yet both the historical and the modern observational data are important for long-term climate studies in the Arctic Ocean.

Many of the collected data are publicly available, but scattered in different electronic archives. Consequently, scientists working on Arctic climate change have to assemble data from different databases. A further problem is that these accessible data have undergone different, or sometimes no, procedures of quality testing and often contain large numbers of duplicates.

To facilitate the analysis of Arctic Ocean data, we will provide a consistent data set of temperature and salinity, that is quality controlled and easy to access. We collect all publicly available profiles measured in the Arctic Ocean north of 65° to apply thorough quality checks and to remove duplicates as well as erroneous profiles. We prepare a large, unified and high-quality dataset for oceanographic studies that is open to everyone.

Since the number of available data for the central Arctic Ocean basins is negligible before the early 1980s, the data collection starts in 1980.

The adjusted archive will be open for updates in time, and any additional data that are not yet included are very much appreciated. Besides the data and metadata, figures, maps and histograms will be provided that allow users a quick overview and easy handling of the data.

In a second step, we will provide interpolated data on a regular grid and on selected depth levels.