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Ocean Carbon Data System


The Ocean Carbon Data System (OCADS) is an NCEI data management project responsible for hosting and providing access to ocean carbon and chemical datasets collected from around the world, as previously performed by the Oceans component of the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC-Oceans) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

Funding for the OCADS project comes from NOAA/NCEI, NOAA/CPO/Ocean Observing and Monitoring Division (OOMD), NOAA/Ocean Acidification Program (OAP), and NASA.


OCADS develops stewardship and management solutions for the enormous, diverse collection of CO2 data gathered by U.S. and international ocean-observing programs, including discrete and underway measurements from a variety of platforms, depths, and oceanic regions. All OCADS data is provided by individual investigators and groups, following initial data review. All ocean carbon data OCADS receives is provided by individual investigators and groups, following initial data review.

OCADS Portal


Search for individual collection level data sets in the NCEI Ocean Archives, by cruise information (EXPOCODE, cruise name, platform name), observation dates and locations, observation categories, or by matching variables or parameters.

Discrete/Bottle Data

Original Cruise
  • Historical WOCE Data
    The World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) Carbon Data Management Project contains approximately 170 cruises from the WOCE, which was a major component of the World Climate Research Program created to examine the ocean’s role in climate and climatic changes caused by natural and manmade carbon emissions. The CO2 survey took advantage of the sampling opportunities provided by the WHP cruises between 1990 and 1998.
  • CLIVAR/GO-SHIP Cruises
    The CLIVAR Global Ocean Carbon and Repeat Hydrography Program / Global Ocean Ship-Based Hydrographic Investigations Program (GO-SHIP) re-examines select WOCE hydrographic sections to quantify changes in storage and transport of CO2 and related parameters.
Data Synthesis

Surface/Underway Data

Original Cruise
  • VOS Program Data
    The Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) program is the original Surface Ocean CO2 cruise data from the research ships and ships of opportunity cruises from 14 nations around the World.
Data Synthesis Products

Time-series and Moorings Project

Time-series records are used to characterize the natural variability and temporal trends in the ocean carbon cycle.

OCADS/NCEI provides data management support for the Global CO2 Time-series and Moorings Project. OCADS provides data management support for the Global CO2 Time-series and Moorings Project. The international groups from 18 countries have mounted sensors on moored buoys to provide high resolution time-series measurements of atmospheric boundary layer and surface ocean CO2 partial pressure (pCO2). The CO2 Time-series and Moorings Project is coordinated by IOCCP and OceanSITES.

Typical measurements include barometric pressure, partial pressure (or fugacity) of carbon dioxide fCO2, sea surface salinity, and sea surface temperature.

US Moorings Data Viewer

Coastal Carbon Data

Coastal regions offer important information about the carbon cycle, because so many processes converge and intersect with the ocean and shoreline: runoff, upwelling and mixing of deep waters, photosynthesis, sinking organic particles, respiration, production and consumption of dissolved organic carbon. This complexity and the highly localized spatial variability makes it difficult to collect coastal carbon data. OCADS provides data management support for the Global Coastal Carbon Data Project which includes bottle (discrete) and surface (underway) carbon-related measurements from coastal research cruises, time series cruises, and coastal moorings.

OCADS holdings include data for the Western North Atlantic including adjacent seas and Eastern North Atlantic including adjacent seas and Eastern North Pacific.

Metadata Preparation

Download the metadata submission form and add your information to Column C. Refer to the instructions for help with specific metadata elements. Use the help index numbers on the left side of the page to reference the description index on the right.

About the Form

  • Required sections are marked in red. Unmarked sections are optional, but we suggest including out as much information as possible. Ignore sections that don’t apply to your data, even if they include elements marked as required.
  • The “variable metadata section” refers to measured/derived property such as temperature, oxygen or pH. Predetermined descriptors like location coordinates, bottle number, quality flags, standard deviations, etc are considered independent variables and don’t require a separate section.
  • Please avoid using special characters, e.g., μ, ±, ℃, etc. wherever possible.

To ensure a smooth transition, OCADS will continue to accept metadata files in the OME format in the foreseeable future.

Preparation and Formatting

We recommend using ASCII character encoding (e.g., comma-separated values (CSV), Excel, etc.) or NetCDF file format, but no specific format is required. Do not use commercial proprietary data file formats.

Follow the templates below as closely as possible, but feel free to remove or add columns as needed:

We recommend using CCHDO parameters and WOCE quality control flags whenever possible.


Send small (less than 20MB) data files to, and cc with your project name and Ocean Acidification Dataset in the subject line. If you are submitting multiple datasets, send one email for each submission, and use different email subject lines.

If your data files are too large to send as email attachments, submit them through File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and email and cc to let us know that an ocean acidification data set was submitted to NCEI for archival.

See sample FTP data submission