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USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program

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


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Oceanographic Time-Series Data Collection (previously named the USGS Oceanographic Time-Series Measurement 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 primarily by investigators at the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center (WHCMSC) 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; the data storage format, and how the data are released and distributed. The report also includes instructions on how to access the data from the online database at As of 2016, the database contains about 5,000 files, which may include observations of current velocity, wave statistics, ocean temperature, conductivity, pressure, and light transmission at one or more depths over some duration of time.

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