- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Monday, Nov. 16, 2009, released the World Ocean Database 2009, a comprehensive collection of scientific information about the oceans with records dating as far back as 1800. The records are expected to play a key role in the ongoing debate over climate change, and in gauging whether past or present human activities/efforts have had any effect.
The 2009 database, updated from the 2005 edition, is significantly larger, providing approximately 9.1 million temperature profiles and 3.5 million salinity reports. The 2009 database also captured 29 categories of scientific information from the oceans, including oxygen levels and chemical tracers, plus information on gases and isotopes that can be used to trace the movement of ocean currents.
"There is now more data about the global oceans than ever before," said Sydney Levitus, director of the World Data Center for Oceanography, which is part of NOAA's National Oceanographic Data Center. "Previous databases have shown the world ocean has warmed during the last 53 years, and it's crucial we have reliable, accurate monitoring of our oceans into the future."
Climate scientists use the World Ocean Database to track changing conditions which adds to the international science community's understanding of global climate change, the agency said in a NOAA press release. Forecast centers, such as NOAA's Ocean Prediction Center, also use the information for quality control of real-time oceanographic information. The information was compiled by scientists at the Ocean Climate Laboratory, part of the NOAA Satellite and Information Service.