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Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center


Documentation of the U.S. Geological Survey Oceanographic Time-Series Measurement Database

By Ellyn T. Montgomery, Marinna A. Martini, Frances L. Lightsom, and Bradford Butman

Published 2008; Revised February 2009


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Oceanographic Time-Series Measurements Database contains oceanographic observations made as part of studies designed to increase understanding of sediment transport processes and associated dynamics. Analysis of these data has contributed to more accurate prediction of the movement and fate of sediments and other suspended materials in the coastal ocean. The measurements were collected by investigators at the USGS Woods Hole Science Center (WHSC) and colleagues, beginning in 1975. Most of the field experiments were carried out on the U.S. continental shelf and slope.

This report describes the instrumentation and platforms used to make the measurements; the methods used to process, apply quality-control criteria, and archive the data; and the data storage format. The report also includes instructions on how to access the data from the on-line database at As of 2008, the database contains about 4,250 files which may include observations of current velocity, ocean temperature, conductivity, pressure, and light transmission at one or more depths over some duration of time.

photo of deployment team
Figure 1. Photo of WHSC personnel on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Marcus Hanna in Massachusetts Bay. Photo: Dann Blackwood


This database, identified as "USGS Oceanographic Time-Series Measurement Database", has been approved for release and publication by the Director of the USGS. Although this database has been subjected to rigorous review and is substantially complete, the USGS reserves the right to revise the data pursuant to further analysis and review. Furthermore, it is released on condition that neither the USGS nor the United States Government may be held liable for any damages resulting from its authorized or unauthorized use.

Citation: Montgomery, E.T., Martini, M.A., Lightsom, F.L. and Butman, Bradford, 2008, Documentation of the U.S. Geological Survey Oceanographic Time Series Measurement Database: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007-1194. Also available online at

Any use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
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