Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) festival

Earlier this year a team of five scientists, including British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) data scientist Matt Donnelly and oceanographers from the University of Liverpool, worked together to provide ocean sciences sessions to primary school children as part of a local Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) festival.
Volunteers mix salt and food colouring into a flow tank for a demonstration of density©
Held at the Ellesmere Port National Waterways Museum in Cheshire, around 60 children from a range of local schools had the opportunity to learn about
  • the concepts of water density and salinity, and how they relate to the Mersey Estuary and ocean circulation through the use of flow tanks, fizzy drinks cans and food colouring
  • the sizes, shapes and life of zooplankton through the use of microscopes
  • the important role of phytoplankton in the marine environment and way in which zooplankton graze on them
The sessions proved a success with the children who quickly grasped new concepts whilst getting hands on with the equipment. They asked a wide range of questions on the science, what we do with the information collected and working at sea.
It was a great opportunity to bring the fascinating world of oceanography 'into the classroom', and discuss the detailed work undertaken by BODC and researchers alike.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

POLCOMS 40-year North Atlantic model run

The British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) are pleased to announce the availability of a 40 year hindcast simulation of currents, potential temperature, salinity and sea surface height for the northwest European continental shelf.
As part of Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) National Capability work, the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory Coastal Ocean Modelling System (POLCOMS) was used to derive potential temperature, salinity, sea surface height and both baroclinic and barotropic currents for the Atlantic margin of the northwest European shelf from 1960 to 2004.
Sea water salinity from POLCOMS 40 year run ©
The work was carried out by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) Shelf and Coastal Impacts team in the Marine Systems Modelling Group. The data were generated as part of research looking at multi-decadal trends and variability in temperature over the northwest European continental shelf.
The dataset consists of
  • 25 hour average east and northward velocity components (m s-1), depth averaged, for each model depth level across the model domain
  • 25 hour average potential temperature (°C) and salinity for each model depth and sea surface height (m) across the model domain
The model simulation starts at 00:00 UTC 01 January 1960 and finishes at 24:00 UTC 31 December 2004.
The full dataset is now available for download at the BODC numerical modelling portal.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Ocean Acidification expert meeting

On 23-24 April 2014, the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) participated in an expert meeting on the management of ocean acidification biological response data, hosted by the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC) at the IAEA Environment Laboratories in Monaco. The meeting brought together a group of over twenty data managers and scientists, some in person, others by video conference, from 10 countries around the globe.

Delegates at the expert meeting on the management of ocean acidification biological response data. ©
Issues discussed involved improving the data reporting guidelines for scientists (to ensure essential information is captured, allowing reuse of data sets), providing best practice for data curators, advice about data policies and management plans, common vocabularies and how best to make data available to the community.
BODC is committed to ensuring that data collected by UK scientists relevant to expanding understanding of the potential impacts of ocean acidification, are managed in an effective manner to ensure long-term worldwide availability.
More information about the workshop can be found on the OA-ICC website.