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Bio-optical Database of the Arctic Ocean

Cite this dataset

Lewis, Kate; van Dijken, Gert; Arrigo, Kevin (2020). Bio-optical Database of the Arctic Ocean [Dataset]. Dryad.


The Arctic bio-optical database assembles a diverse suite of biological and optical data from 34 expeditions throughout the Arctic Ocean. Data combined into a single AO database following the OBPG criteria (Pegau et al. 2003), as was done in the development of the global NASA Bio-optical Marine Algorithm Data Set (NOMAD) (Werdell 2005, Werdell & Bailey 2005). This Arctic database combines coincident in situ observations of IOPs, apparent optical properties (AOPs), Chl a, environmental data (e.g. temperature, salinity) and station metadata (e.g. sampling depth, latitude, longitude, date). Data were acquired from the NASA SeaWiFS Bio-optical Archive and Storage System (SeaBASS,, the LEFE CYBER database (, the Data and Sample Research System for Whole Cruise Information in JAMSTEC (DARWIN,, NOMAD, and individual contributors. To ensure consistency, data were limited to those that were collected using OBPG defined protocols (Pegau et al. 2003). Only observations shallower that 30 m were included. For spectral parameters, we included data at the following wavelengths that are used by satellite and thus are relevant for ocean color algorithm evaluation: 412, 443, 469, 488, 490, 510, 531, 547, 555, 645, 667, 670 and 678 nm. In situ measurements were binned at the same station if measurements were within 8 hours and 1° of distance (Werdell & Bailey 2005). For regional analyses, each station was assigned to one of ten sub-regions and three functional shelf-types (Carmack et al. 2006).


This bio-optical database was assembled using in situ measurements from cruises throughout the Arctic Ocean based on the methods in Werdell 2005 and Werdell & Bailey 2005. Please see [my eventual paper citation/DOI] for full details on methods and data source. 

Werdell, P. 2005. An evaluation of inherent optical property data for inclusion in the NASA Bio‐optical Marine Algorithm Data Set, NASA Ocean Biology Processing Group paper, NASA Goddard Space Flight Cent., Greenbelt, Md.

Werdell, P.J. and S.W. Bailey. 2005. An improved bio-optical data set for ocean color algorithm development and satellite data product validation. Remote Sens. Environ. 98: 122-140.

Usage notes

See the README file (README_Arctic_Ocean_Bio-Optical_Database_Lewis_et_al.docx) for data sources, database description and more of the Bio-Optical Database.

Also available is mean annual Chl a and primary production using a new chlorophyll algorithm based on the bio-optical database.  Ancillary data like open water area and sea surface temperature is included as well.  File: aay8380_timeseries_data.xlsx

Finally the data for Fig. 1B (Actic Ocean Chl a rate of change 1998-2018) is included in a netCDF file.  File: aay8380_chl_trend.cdf


NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship, Award: NNX16AO08H

NASA, Award: NNX10AF42G

NSF OPP, Award: PLR‐1304563