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Open-File Report 2007–1194

Documentation of the U.S. Geological Survey Oceanographic Time-Series Measurement Database

Database Contents

Oceanographic time-series data collected as part of the Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources Program (CMHRP) describe the movement and physical properties of the waters of the coastal ocean. In this document, "time series" refers to data collected at a single location for a time period of some duration. The location is defined by latitude, longitude, and depth, and the time is defined by sampling at some time interval for the duration of data acquisition.

The studies for which these data were collected focused primarily on improving the understanding of sediment transport and associated processes; therefore, the measurements are concentrated near the sea floor with fewer observations in the water column. The data files in this database include some or all of the following measurements: current velocity, wave statistics, pressure, water quality parameters, light transmission (beam attenuation), and turbidity, as well as some meteorological data and other associated measurements. For more detail of the measurements and file structure, see the Content Overview section.

The time-series observations in this database have been processed to a state referred to as the "best basic version" (BBV). The BBV files have been trimmed to include only data collected while the mooring or tripod was settled on the sea floor: data collected during pre-deployment and post-deployment periods are removed. When possible, spikes were interpolated over and sensor-based failures are replaced with special values, typically “1e35,” that indicate a substitution was made. If one sensor fails earlier than the rest, the part of that sensor's data after the failure is replaced with the designated indicator values, and all of the data in the other variables are retained. For example, if conductivity fails after 1 month, and the temperature data from the same instrument remains good for 3 months, just the last 2 months of conductivity would be replaced. In addition, vector-averaged currents are computed from burst current measurements; salinity is computed from conductivity, temperature, and pressure; and beam attenuation is computed from light transmission. The datasets are distributed at the instrument's configured sampling rate and, in some cases, as hourly averages. In the case of new instrumentation, the data may be released in provisional status prior to release as a BBV so that colleagues can assist in the evaluation of the data.

A mooring or platform deployed on the sea bed—for example a bottom tripod frame—typically supports multiple instruments and sensors. The data are stored in files derived from the instrument system logging the data; therefore several data files are usually associated with each platform. A file derived from an acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) current meter contains only the variables collected by the ADCP (east, north, and vertical current, transducer temperature, and attitude measurements). For a Conductivity-Temperature Logger, the file contains measurements of temperature, conductivity, and in some cases light transmission and pressure. The filename contains information about the platform and the type of data logged. To enhance understanding of the filenames, appendix 1 documents the nomenclature conventions used for files in this database. The index page of the oceanographic time-series data collection website provides an interactive map and experiment list for browsing the data. The files containing measurements from an experiment are made available by following the link to that experiment's page. Additional information is available in data reports produced as part of some of the programs; these are listed on the experiment pages. More information about the website, experiment pages and data access are provided in the Database Access section.

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