DATABASES: An Ocean of Data

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Science  30 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5586, pp. 1451
DOI: 10.1126/science.297.5586.1451e

Featuring more than a dozen databases, the National Oceanographic Data Center is awash with measurements of the ocean going back to the 1960s, from wave height to plankton abundance. Try diving into the Oceanographic Profile Database, which records variables such as salinity, temperature, pH, nitrate levels, and chlorophyll concentrations from samples taken around the world. A plankton storehouse holds measurements of total biomass and species abundances, with results from more than 140,000 “tows.” Besides loads of raw data for specialists, the site offers a few topical items, such as atlases on harmful algal blooms and the frigid Barents Sea, where the Gulf Stream peters out. You can download the data or plot them online to create an assortment of graphs and charts.

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