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Data Types

SADCO stores data from the south-eastern Atlantic Ocean, the south-western Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean, in a target area extending from 10N to 70S and 30W to 70E. Data is obtained from local marine organisations, universities, the South African Weather Service, and from international data sources.

The data includes:

  • Hydrographic station data with vertical profiles of temperature, salinity, oxygen, nutrients, etc. SADCO has about 326 300 stations since 1900.
  • Instruments include CTD, MBT, XBT, bottles, ARGO floats.
  • Surface weather reports from voluntary observing ships (VOS) including waves, wind, swell, sea-surface temperature, etc. There are about 7.3 million reports with about 64 million observations since 1660.
  • Moored current meter and ADCP data since 1970.
  • Moored thermistor string data since 1990.
  • Underway ADCP data since 2000.
  • Automatic Weather Station data along the coast since about 1982.
  • Chemical data (in the water column, organic tissue and in sediment).
  • Underwater temperature recording (UTR) data since 1990.
  • Wave data from wave buoys since 1977.

Data Quality Control

The quality control procedures for the various types of data are described in the Newsletters.

  • Hydrographic stations: To conform with international checks, the QC flags of the World Ocean Database (WOD) were adopted, so that data obtained from the World Data Centre (WDC) could be be integrated almost seamlessly into the existing SADCO data base. The QC process involves 3 groups of checks, namely checks of the station information, checks of the profiles and checks of the subsurface observations. No flags are installed for the station checks (stations are either accepted sometimes with small corrections - or rejected). For the profile and observation checks, flags are allocated per parameter (e.g. temperature, salinity, nutrients,...) and the flags installed by SADCO are a subset of the WOD flags plus a spike check. The variables that are checked are: depth, temperature, salinity, oxygen, phosphate, silicate, nitrate, pH, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and total chlorophyll. For a more complete description, please see SADCO newsletter Vol. 18 No. 3 (August 2007)
  • VOS: The World Meteorological Organisation quality control screens are used on SADCO's VOS data. For a complete description, please see page 4 of Vol. 13 No. 2 (June 2002) and Vol. 13 No. 3 (September 2002)
  • Time series data: Automatic checking for time series data are checked visually. Current meter data are checked for the following: Metadata checks (latitude, longitude, institute, date, time), broad range check, spikes, noisiness, sensor drift, visible gaps and/or pre-deployment leaders or post-recovery trailers. Weather data are checked for the following: Metadata checks (latitude, longitude, institute, date, time), broad range checks, spikes, sensor drift, data gaps, data shift, sensor jammed. For a further description of the criteria, please see SADCO newsletters Vol. 19 No. 4 (December 2008) and Vol. 21 No. 1 (February 2010)


A large amount of biogeographic data has been loaded in AfrOBIS, the African Node for the Ocean Biogeographic Information System. This database as well as the global information in OBIS, is freely accessible, and contains search, plotting and download facilities (

Data Loading

SADCO runs screening tests on all incoming data to identify possible errors, and attaches quality assessment flags to the loaded data. Where possible, errors are reported to the contributors for rectification but SADCO has no control over the reliability of the submitted data.

Confidential data is placed under access control allowing access only to those organisations and persons approved by the data provider.

SADCO prefers to obtain data in a specified format, to expedite the loading process.

Target Area

Map of target area

Data Being Loaded

List of data being loaded

CSIR - Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved
Updated: June 2010