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For technical help or to report problems, please e-mail

Data description:
The World Ocean Database 2009 (WOD09) is an update of World Ocean Database 2005 (WOD05). The WOD09 data are available online presorted by 10 o geographic squares, by year , or user specified via WODselect data selection tool at standard or observed depth levels.

Downloading data:
All the WOD09 ASCII output files are in GZIP* compressed format. However, the user should be aware that different web browsers handle GZIP compressed files differently.

MOZILLA USERS: Can download the data file in two ways: (1) hold the "shift" key and click on the link to the data file or (2) right-mouse click on the link and select the "Save Link Target As ..." option.

INTERNET EXPLORER USERS: Can download the data file by copying the link location to your browser and then saving the file in your local working directory.

FAST TRANSFER PROTOCOL (FTP) USERS: Can download data via browser from ftp server using the following URL: or download the data directly via ftp

login: anonymous
Password: your complete e-mail address
cd pub/WOD09/
cd to specific directory (e.g., /pub/WOD09/GEOGRAPHIC/ for geographic sorted data or /pub/WOD09/YEARLY/  for time sorted data)
bin (to set binary transfer type)
get filename.gz (where filename is the name of your data file)
bye (to exit the ftp access)

Decompressing data:
After downloading the data file, to uncompress the file the user can use any software which can handle zip-archives, such as WinZip, WinRAR, StuffIt, MacZip, UnZip, etc. The WOD09 utilities documentation describe the use of GZIP* tools to uncompress "gz" compressed format for DOS and UNIX users. After downloading and uncompressing the file, you can view the data using any ASCII text editor.

Reading WOD09 data format:
The WOD09 data format description can be found in the WOD09 documentation. The data format is comprised of several sections including primary header, secondary header, variable-specific second header, character data, biological header, taxa-specific and biomass data, and measured variables.

The WOD09 native data format can be read in a number of ways:

(1) The user can use any of a number of sample programs in FORTRAN and C to read the WOD09 native data format or the user can write his/her own code. The programs provided are designed simply as examples on how to read the WOD09 data for all types of datasets. The sample programs prompt the user to input a data file to read casts and variables included in these casts to the screen. Note that the user needs to modify the programs to incorporate user specific needs such as single or multiple input data files, output file(s), number of profiles, data output format and number of variables. The metadata codes listed within each cast are described in the code tables.

(2) The user can also use the Ocean Data View* (ODV) software package to read the WOD09 native format and display the data. WOD09 data do not upload into versions of ODV prior to 3.1 ODV. The latest version is available from ODV website*. The user will need to open a new ODV collection (or add to an existing ODV collection) and specify "World Ocean Database Variables" in the "Definition of Collection Variables" menu. The detailed instructions are available from WOD09 tutorial (pdf, 0.1 MB). Note that ODV will not be able to read surface only data; originator's quality flags; or plankton biomass and taxonomic data in the OSD file.

For technical help or to report problems, please e-mail

  Last modified:    Thu, 23-Apr-2015 19:57 UTC
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