Data Hack 2019

During the SOOS meetings in Incheon in May, we set our scientists and data managers the task of solving a series of challenges that are getting in the way of us reaching our goal of making Southern Ocean observational data freely and FAIRly (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reuseable) available to our community. These projects ranged across several disciplines and from easily solved data processing issues to mapping out a potential new biogeochemical data aggregation project.

Key projects include:

  • Identifying key historic datasets from the Antarctic Peninsula, including full-depth physical measurements around Brown and Melchior Stations from the 1960s, that need to be digitised and preserved.
  • Understanding and improving the data flows that feed SOOSmap. One of the challenges in aggregating marine datasets is that many of them are partially duplicated in several repositories and it is difficult to identify the authoritative source for a particular set of observations. This group traced the pathways that CTD data follows to reach EMODnet’s servers to identify potential sources of duplication so that the EMODnet coders can minimise duplication in these data feeds. A side project involved troubleshooting feeds of data from the British Oceanographic Data Centre to SeaDataNet and then onto EMODnet.
  • The SOOS Mooring Network underwent a thorough clean-up from a group representing several data centres, identifying potential errors and gaps in the data. The SOOS Mooring Network now includes information 815 moorings in the Southern Ocean from the past fifty years, along with data links for 80% of them, and is available through SOOSmap.
  • One group identified potential gaps in the aggregations of biogeochemical data from the Southern Ocean. Existing biogeochemical aggregation efforts (e.g. GEOTRACES and SOCAT) are limited in either the range of variables they include or which datasets they will accept, leaving much biogeochemical data scattered and unstandardized. The group explored the relevant biogeochemical data available to the community through SOOSmap, and identified a series of steps that will likely require effort from students and interns over some years to come to fruition.
  • SOOS’ glider users took the opportunity to draft a statement on the needs and data requirements of the growing Southern Ocean glider community, as they navigate the differing systems of the world’s glider data assembly centres.
  • Additionally, we took the opportunity to pair up scientists, data managers, and coders to undertake specific tasks on individual projects. For these scientists, the SOOS datathon facilitated access to data management skills that were not easy to find in their home institutions.

Klaus Meiners, Marco Alba, Petra ten Hoopen and Benedicte Pasquer at the Data Hack. (photo: Taco de Bruin)
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