NCEI Standard Product: World Ocean Database (WOD)

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The World Ocean Database (WOD) is the world's largest publicly available uniform format quality controlled ocean profile dataset. Ocean profile data are sets of measurements of an ocean variable vs. depth at a single geographic location within a short (minutes to hours) temporal period in some portion of the water column from the surface to the bottom. To be considered a profile for the WOD, there must be more than a single depth/variable pair. Multiple profiles at the same location from the same set of instruments is an oceanographic cast. Ocean variables in the WOD include temperature, salinity, oxygen, nutrients, tracers, and biological variables such as plankton and chlorophyll. Quality control procedures are documented and performed on each cast and the results are included as flags on each measurement. The WOD contains the data on the originally measured depth levels (observed) and also interpolated to standard depth levels to present a more uniform set of iso-surfaces for oceanographic and climate work.

The source of the WOD is more than 20,000 separate archived data sets contributed by institutions, project, government agencies, and individual investigators from the United States and around the world. Each data set is available in its original form in the National Centers for Environmental Information data archives. All data sets are converted to the same standard format, checked for duplication within the WOD, and assigned quality flags based on objective tests. Additional subjective flags are set upon calculation of ocean climatological mean fields which make up the World Ocean Atlas (WOA) series.

The WOD consists of periodic major releases and quarterly updates to those releases. Each major release is associated with a concurrent release of a WOA release, and contains final quality control flags used in the WOA, which includes manual as well as automated steps. Each quarterly update release includes additional historical and recent data and preliminary quality control. The latest major release was WOD 2018 (WOD18), which includes nearly 16 million oceanographic casts, from the second voyage of Captain Cook (1772) to the modern Argo floats (end of 2017).

The WOD presents data in netCDF ragged array format following the Climate and Forecast (CF) conventions for ease of use mindful of space limitations.
  • Cite as: Boyer, Tim P.; Antonov, John I.; Baranova, Olga K.; Coleman, Carla; Garcia, Hernan E.; Grodsky, Alexandra; Johnson, Daphne R.; Locarnini, Ricardo A.; Mishonov, Alexey V.; O'Brien, Todd D.; Paver, Christopher R.; Reagan, James R.; Seidov, Dan; Smolyar, Igor V.; Zweng, Melissa M. (2016). NCEI Standard Product: World Ocean Database (WOD). [indicate subset used]. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. Dataset. https://accession.nodc.noaa.gov/NCEI-WOD. Accessed [date].
  • Please refer to Credit tab for full citation information.
gov.noaa.nodc:NCEI-WOD
Search Data
  • WODselect (search)
    Search for data by user-specified criteria and optionally download data.
  • Granule Search (search)
    Search for data granules belonging to this collection (a granule is the smallest aggregation of data that can be independently described and retrieved).
Download Data
  • THREDDS (download)
    These data are available through a variety of services via a THREDDS (Thematic Real-time Environmental Distributed Data Services) Data Server (TDS). Depending on the dataset, the TDS can provide WMS, WCS, DAP, HTTP, and other data access and metadata services as well. For more information on the TDS, see http://www.unidata.ucar.edu/software/thredds/current/tds/.
  • HTTP (download)
    Navigate directly to the URL for data access and direct download.
  • FTP (download)
    These data are available through the File Transfer Protocol (FTP). You may use any FTP client to download these data.
Distribution Formats
  • netCDF-4 (Version: WOD13 Multi-cast, CF-1.6)
Ordering Instructions Contact NCEI for other distribution options and instructions.
Distributor DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
301-713-3277
NCEI.Info@noaa.gov
Dataset Point of Contact Information Services
DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
301-713-3277
NCEI.Info@noaa.gov
Time Period 1772-12-15 to 2019-10-01
Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates
N: 90
S: -90
E: 180
W: -180
Spatial Coverage Map
General Documentation
Publication Dates
  • publication: 2016-07-21
  • revision: 2019-12-17
Data Presentation Form Digital table - digital representation of facts or figures systematically displayed, especially in columns
Dataset Progress Status Complete - production of the data has been completed
Historical archive - data has been stored in an offline storage facility
Data Update Frequency As needed
Purpose To make available to anyone, without restriction, the most complete set of historical ocean profile data and plankton measurements possible in digital form along with ancillary metadata and quality control flags.
Use Limitations
  • accessLevel: Public
  • Distribution liability: NOAA and NCEI make no warranty, expressed or implied, regarding these data, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty. NOAA and NCEI cannot assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in these data. If appropriate, NCEI can only certify that the data it distributes are an authentic copy of the records that were accepted for inclusion in the NCEI archives.
Dataset Citation
  • Cite as: Boyer, Tim P.; Antonov, John I.; Baranova, Olga K.; Coleman, Carla; Garcia, Hernan E.; Grodsky, Alexandra; Johnson, Daphne R.; Locarnini, Ricardo A.; Mishonov, Alexey V.; O'Brien, Todd D.; Paver, Christopher R.; Reagan, James R.; Seidov, Dan; Smolyar, Igor V.; Zweng, Melissa M. (2016). NCEI Standard Product: World Ocean Database (WOD). [indicate subset used]. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. Dataset. https://accession.nodc.noaa.gov/NCEI-WOD. Accessed [date].
  • When using temperature, please also cite: Locarnini, Ricardo A.; Mishonov, Alexey V.; Antonov, John I.; Boyer, Tim P.; Garcia, Hernan E.; Baranova, Olga K.; Zweng, Melissa M.; Paver, Christopher R.; Reagan, James R.; Johnson, Daphne R.; Hamilton, Melanie; Seidov, Dan (2013). World Ocean Atlas 2013, Volume 1: Temperature. S. Levitus, Ed., A. Mishonov, Technical Ed.; NOAA Atlas NESDIS 73, 40 pp.
  • When using salinity, please also cite: Zweng, Melissa M.; Reagan, James R.; Antonov, John I.; Locarnini, Ricardo A.; Mishonov, Alexey V.; Boyer, Tim P.; Garcia, Hernan E.; Baranova, Olga K.; Johnson, Daphne R.; Seidov, Dan; Biddle, Mathew M. (2013). World Ocean Atlas 2013, Volume 2: Salinity. S. Levitus, Ed., A. Mishonov, Technical Ed., NOAA Atlas NESDIS 74, 39 pp.
  • When using oxygen, please also cite: Garcia, Hernan E.; Locarnini, Ricardo A.; Boyer, Tim P.; Antonov, John I.; Mishonov, Alexey V.; Baranova, Olga K.; Zweng, Melissa M.; Reagan, James R.; Johnson, Daphne R. (2013). World Ocean Atlas 2013 Volume 3: Dissolved Oxygen, Apparent Oxygen Utilization, and Oxygen Saturation. S. Levitus, Ed., A. Mishonov, Technical Ed., NOAA Atlas NESDIS 75, 29 pp.
  • When using nutrients, please also cite: Garcia, Hernan E.; Locarnini, Ricardo A.; Boyer, Tim P.; Antonov, John I.; Baranova, Olga K.; Zweng, Melissa M.; Reagan, James R.; Johnson, Daphne R. (2013). World Ocean Atlas 2013 Volume 4: Dissolved Inorganic Nutrients (phosphate, nitrate, silicate). S. Levitus, Ed., A. Mishonov, Technical Ed., NOAA Atlas NESDIS 76, 25 pp.
Cited Authors
  • Boyer, Tim P.
    US DOC; NOAA; NESDIS; National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
  • Antonov, John I.
    US DOC; NOAA; NESDIS; National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC)
  • Baranova, Olga K.
    US DOC; NOAA; NESDIS; National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
  • Coleman, Carla
    US DOC; NOAA; NESDIS; National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
  • Garcia, Hernan E.
    US DOC; NOAA; NESDIS; National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
  • Grodsky, Alexandra
    US DOC; NOAA; NESDIS; National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
  • Johnson, Daphne R.
    US DOC; NOAA; NESDIS; National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
  • Locarnini, Ricardo A.
    US DOC; NOAA; NESDIS; National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
  • Mishonov, Alexey V.
    US DOC; NOAA; NESDIS; National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
  • O'Brien, Todd D.
    US DOC; NOAA; National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
  • Paver, Christopher R.
    US DOC; NOAA; NESDIS; National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
  • Reagan, James R.
    US DOC; NOAA; NESDIS; National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
  • Seidov, Dan
    US DOC; NOAA; NESDIS; National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
  • Smolyar, Igor V.
    US DOC; NOAA; NESDIS; National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
  • Zweng, Melissa M.
    US DOC; NOAA; NESDIS; National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
Contributors
Resource Providers
Publishers
Theme keywords NODC DATA TYPES THESAURUS NODC OBSERVATION TYPES THESAURUS WMO_CategoryCode
  • oceanography
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science Keywords
Data Center keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Data Center Keywords NODC COLLECTING INSTITUTION NAMES THESAURUS NODC SUBMITTING INSTITUTION NAMES THESAURUS
Platform keywords NODC PLATFORM NAMES THESAURUS