GTSPP Meeting, Bidston, UK, 16 Jan, 1999

Attendees were: Yutaka Michida, Penny Holliday, Nathan Bindoff, Brian King, Piers Chapman, Hank Frey, Catherine Mavzier, Yeun-ho Chong, Norm Hall, Bob Keeley.

1. Status of QC of yearly files

SIO has QC'ed and returned to NODC the data for 1996. Data from 1996 for CSIRO and AOML have not yet been provided by NODC; they were waiting on some additional data. This should go out soon.

It was decided that scientific QC will not be carried out on 1997 data before WOCE CD 2 is prepared. It was considered that the volume of data is unlikely to be sufficient to make it worth while. QC of delayed mode data continues to be slowed because of the delays in data coming to NODC. In the case of WOCE PIs, IPO agreed to try to help NODC if they could provide information about the PIs whose data have not arrived at NODC. It is important to GTSPP to document the speed which data reach the CMD. At the last meeting, NODC agreed to produce an analysis of this. This was not available this time and so the request was restated.

Norm Hall noted that data from marginal seas of the Pacific are not QC'ed. Keeley asked that the definitions of these areas be provided to him for inclusion on the CD. In addition, Bob Keeley asked if the data from marginal seas are 'marked' as having passed through SIO. Norm agreed to determine what was done and to inform Bob Keeley.

2. Status of GTSPP Participants

NODC will continue to fund the QC of Pacific data at SIO until at least the preparation of WOCE CD version 3. Both AMOL and CSIRO have funding to continue as well.

At a U.S. GOOS meeting, Bob Keeley, Bob Molinari and Rick Bailey decided that a formal MOU between participants could strengthen the roles each participant plays. A draft has been put together and has been seen by NODC. The terms need more work to emphasize the expected permanence of GTSPP and its likely contributions to GOOS, CLIVAR, and other international programmes with oceanographic components. Michida Yutaka asked to be provided with a copy for JODC consideration. Bob Keeley agreed to revise the draft further and to send this out to the parties. It was agreed that signatories to the document should be placed one administrative level above the agency directly involved.

3. Data flow and monitoring

Brest has withdrawn from direct GTSPP activities. Approximately 2 years ago, NODC and Brest carried out an intercomparison of their respective data holdings and updated each of their archives to ensure their contents were the same. It is not clear if since then, an update of data has been received from Brest, so that there is once again the concern that not all data received by Brest has come to NODC as well. NODC was asked to check into this and to request any recent data received by Brest.

Bob Keeley noted that real-time data have not been received from the U.S. Navy in a number of years although he was still trying to remedy this. Hank Frey said that there were ongoing discussions regarding provision of declassified data by the Navy. The U.S. Navy has stopped sending data directly to NODC. Rather, they place data on their server and let anyone pick them up. NODC found that a large fraction (all?) of the data available on the Navy server are data obtained from NODC. This is still not completely decided and NODC will keep GTSPP informed. Piers Chapman noted that both Worth Nowlin and Bob Molinari consider U.S. Navy data in their report for Jim Baker. Bob Keeley was asked to contact Bob Molinari and Piers offered to talk to Worth about this.

Penny Holliday and Brian King raised the question about whether U.K. Navy data reached GTSPP. They agreed to provide some information to Bob Keeley and Hank to check and to proceed as needed. The contact for the U.K. Navy would be Nigel Gooding.

Bob Keeley stated that the real-time data sent by JODC from Hydrographic department and Fisheries ships which come to MEDS at the end of a month, do not arrive reliably each month (he will provide details to Yutaka). In addition, he was informed that ship identifiers have changed but as yet no updated list has been received. Yutaka agreed to check into this and to have the new list sent as soon as possible.

Bob Keeley informed the meeting of what is currently done in support of SOOP activities by GTSPP. Various sampling maps are available from MEDS web site (, click on National and International programmes, SOOPIP) as well as monthly QC statistics (under National and International programmes, WOCE UOT). NODC provides the archive for the higher resolution XBT data collected by the SOOP programme. Bob Keeley has some evidence to show that monthly monitoring of data quality and prompt reporting back to ship operators when problems are noted has resulted in improvements in data quality.

Yutaka informed the meeting that the Japanese Hydrographic Department was nearly ready to begin exchanging 1 m resolution XBT data rather than data at standard depths. He agreed to check into this progress and inform Bob Keeley and Doug Hamilton. This problem needs to be solved before the question of data exchange with the NEAR-GOOS programme begins.

4. Review of the GTSPP

Bob Keeley prepared a document discussing the future directions on GTSPP. The only comments received were from Ron Wilson, and he was in basic agreement with the contents. Penny commented that it was important to stress ongoing and working level contacts between data centres and scientists. She also noted there should be clear statements of the benefits of these contacts. No other comments were provided at the meeting, but participants were asked to convey any they might have to Keeley. When asked about the future of the document, he stated that it may be presented at the upcoming IODE meeting.

Bob Keeley noted that little salinity data was being handled by GTSPP. In particular, none of the Science Centres have QC software that permits them to examine salinity. This is a problem that GTSPP needs to met. He hoped that the new semi-automated procedures being developed by AOML and CSIRO would address this.

Bob Keeley provided a revised project plan for GTSPP as completed by Ron Wilson. Participants were asked to read this and send their comments to Ron either directly or through Bob Keeley (

WOCE DPC asked all DACs to examine what their role could be to support CLIVAR. This should be based on the suite of variables and sampling required, and the stated aims for timeliness and free exchange of data. The meeting did not discuss how GTSPP/UOT DAC would formulate this. All GTSPP members should be aware of the strong emphasis in CLIVAR on real-time data and rapid delivery of delayed mode data. This should result in more timely receipt of delayed mode data at the archive centres. In addition it may well require faster handling of scientific quality control of data by science centres. Bob Keeley volunteered after the meeting to undertake the first draft and to circulate it to participants.

5. Code Changes

Both BATHY and TESAC code forms have been modified and will come into effect on 3 May, 2000. Bob Keeley has posted a description of both the current code forms and the changes under the SOOPIP topic on MEDS web site (see the URL under item 3.). He also offered to help people check their encoding software by trying to decode trial messages they produce.

The major change in TESAC is to include information about the instrument used in collecting data found in the TESAC. This will use the same tables as BATHY. Yeun-Ho Chong was asked to check with Bob Molinari to see if the existing table was sufficient to describe profiling float instrumentation. She should provide information to Bob Keeley so that he can contact the right people at WMO to have additions made in the tables. It was recognized that data centres will need sufficient detail about the profiling floats to ensure the usefulness of data archived.

6. Archive issues

Bob Keeley made an analysis of P3 looking to see if all of the contents of the GTSPP format could map into it. This was carried out in April, 1998. He concluded that, in particular, there was no place in P3 to store information provided from Science Centres about the reasons for profile flags having been set. Hank noted that P3 was not completely settled and that there was still some room for changes. He suggested that a meeting be set up at NODC to include GTSPP members (e.g. Bob Keeley, Yeun-Ho, Rick, Bob Molinari), others (e.g. Jim Swift, Dale Pillsbury, Gary Soneira) and NODC staff to work out the differences. Bob Keeley was asked to send out an email to possible interested parties to the meeting to inform them. Hank will coordinate arrangements for setting a time. In the email, Bob Keeley will outline the issues relating directly to P3 as well as CMD considerations that are impacted by the format.

7. Review of action items from previous meeting

These were reviewed and any outstanding issues discussed at the meeting. Any continuing issues appear as action items from this meeting.

8. Review of UOT CD

There were some minor and major issues regarding the next version of the WOCE CD.

  1. WOCE DPC requested that the high resolution XBT lines be extracted from the general files and be available separately.
  2. Data were requested to be written in netCDF and if necessary compressed using gzip.
  3. A sample file should be prepared in netCDF by September. From this, estimates of data volumes for the next CD should be made.
  4. A beta version of the CD must be ready by late February, 2000, with the final version by April, 2000.
  5. Longitudes should be written as +/- 180 degrees with positive longitudes east of Greenwich.

There was a problem on the first CD with real-time and the same delayed mode data being both present. There also has appeared a mismatch of profiles to stations. The meeting agreed that both problems needed to be resolved before the next CD was issued.

Bob Keeley agreed that MEDS to assemble the CD contents as it did last time. He agreed to talk to Rick to see if they had any products they would like to include. Other participants were asked to review the CD and provide suggestions to him regarding contents.

Bob Keeley agreed to write software to convert MEDS ASCII to netCDF. The software prepared by MEDS will be used to prepare the sample file (one ocean, one season of one year rather than line P16 as DPC requested). MEDS will pass the software to NODC to use as they can.

NODC will work to correct the duplicate and mismatch problems noted above and will provide data to the CD.They will merge all data available to ensure the most complete, high resolution data set possible.

Norm agreed to review the QC documentation of SIO to ensure it is complete.

Penny remembered noting some problems viewing the CDs on a Macintosh. She will review this and inform Bob Keeley.

9. Profiling floats

The WOCE DPC asked GTSPP to consider what its role might be in managing data from profiling floats. Brian told participants that all data from the ARGO program were non-proprietary. In addition, all data were to circulate on the GTS as quickly as possible (from immediate to 48 hours delay after data are sent ashore). There is a plan to carry out scientific QC on the data within three months and these data to be sent to some archive centre or centres. The plans on this part of the project were not well developed. There was an offer by FNOC to provide the real-time data to users, but, apparently, they did not want to propose archive services. Participants saw an opportunity for GTSPP to become involved by being a source of real-time data for users with poor connections to data on the GTS, as well as the archive for the data having passed through scientific QC. Managing data in this way, should be relatively simple since only a delayed mode - real-time comparison and replacement would need to be done. It was recognized that there may be other floats operating that are not a part of the ARGO programme, but these would likely be few.

Refinement of the data management for ARGO is taking place now. Participants asked both Bob Keeley and Hank to contact the planners, to discuss what aspects of the data management functions might be handled by GTSPP and to move quickly to write up the necessary documentation for Dean Roemmich. At the same time, IPO would provide a list of PIs deploying floats to NODC with the thought that GTSPP should propose what role GTSPP could play and ask PIs to send their delayed mode data to GTSPP. GTSPP was asked to consider the size of the task of preserving current float data and information prior to the start of ARGO.

10. Definition of Marginal Seas at SIO

The following defines areas considered by SIO to be marginal seas and for which no QC is undertaken.

South China Sea: 8 S to 25 N, 90 to 122 E
East China Sea: 25 to 41 N, 115 to 128 E
Sea of Japan: 35 to 50 N, 128 to 140 E
Sea of Okhotsk: 45 to 65 N, 135 to 155 E
Bering Sea: 52 to 66 N, 163 E to 159 W