North Sea Biogeochemical Climatology (NSBC)

CliSAP data set



View data via LAS (click on Choose Dataset to get to the other parameters)

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Data access via file system: /data/icdc/ocean/nsbc/



This is version 1.1 of the NSBC, a biogeochemical climatology in the region 47° - 65 °N and 15 °W - 15 °E. It is an expansion of the NOWESP data base („North Western European Shelf Programme“; Laane et al., 1996) and the KLIWAS North Sea Climatology of Hydrographic Data (Bersch et al., 2013). The data collection comprises observations of the parameters ammonium, chlorophyll-a, nitrate(+nitrite), phosphate, oxygen and silicate for the time period 1960-2014. If accompanying observations of the biogeochemical parameters, observations of temperature and salinity were also included in the collection.

The observational data are derived from/were provided by:

  • NOWESP project (Laane et al., 1996)
  • World Ocean Database 2013 (WOD13, Boyer et al., 2013 )
  • Uwe Brockmann (Institute for Geology of the University of Hamburg, Department of Biogeochemistry and Marine Chemistry)
  • DOD (German Oceanographic Data Centre)
  • PANGAEA (PANGAEA Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Bremerhaven, Germany)
  • ICES (International Council for Exploration of the Sea)
  • EMODNet (European Marine Observation and Data Network)

A common data format was selected for this extensive data collection and the physical units were standardized. To avoid biasing of the final data product, duplicate observations were omitted. Additionally, erroneous observations were eliminated. For this purpose, the entity of the observation was subjected to a thorough quality control that was separately adapted to each biogeochemical parameter.

The data product made available for users here consist of 3D-fields of monthly, climatological monthly and all data mean values (with corresponding statistics) of the biogeochemical parameters. They can be used as reference data for biogeochemical numerical modelling, for example. The data product is provided in netCDF-format and contains parameter statistics in two different data processing levels labelled “Level2” and “Level3”. “Level0” and “Level1” (not available for users) refer to the original and the quality controlled observational data, respectively. Fields of box averages of the latter one are termed “Level2” and finally,“Level3“ refers to 3D-fields of optimally interpolated parameter values. Whereas Level2 fields are characterized by gaps, the fields of Level3 are closed by optimal interpolation and are accompanied by corresponding fields of relative interpolation error. Together with the files for each parameter a 3D- land-sea mask is provided as a single file to enable the user to differentiate between boxes being empty because of lack of observational data and boxes that are situated on land or below the sea floor and are empty for this reason.

You can find more detailed information about the data set in the technical report.

Note: Concerning the parameters temperature and salinity, we refer to the KLIWAS North Sea Climatology for Hydrographic Data. The Biogeochemical North Sea Climatology contains observations of temperature and salinity only in those cases when they were recorded at the same time as the biogeochemical parameters.

This project was partly funded by CliSAP.

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Name Unit
Ammonium mmol/m^3
Chlorophyll-a mg/m^3
Nitrate (+Nitrite) mmol/m^3
Phosphate mmol/m^3
Oxygen mmol/m^3
Silicate mmol/m^3
Temperature °C
Salinity -

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Coverage, temporal and spatial resolution

Period and temporal resolution

  • 1960-2014
  • monthly, climatological monthly mean, "all data mean"

Räumliche Abdeckung und Auflösung

  • Longitude: 15°W bis 15°E
  • Latitude: 48°N bis 65°N
  • 0.25°x0.25° box size
  • 3D, differing depth levels between climatological and all data mean and between the single parameters


  • netCDF

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Data quality

see description


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Iris Hinrichs, Johannes Pätsch
CEN / University of Hamburg
email: iris.hinrichs (at) uni-hamburg.de, johannes.paetsch (at) uni-hamburg.de  

Viktor Gouretski
ICDC / CEN / University of Hamburg
email: viktor.gouretski (at) uni-hamburg.de

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Technical Report: North Sea Biogeochemical Climatology

Hinrichs, Iris; Gouretski, Viktor; Pätsch, Johannes; Emeis, Kay-Christian; Stammer, Detlef (2017). North Sea Biogeochemical Climatology (Version 1.1). World Data Center for Climate (WDCC) at DKRZ. https://doi.org/10.1594/WDCC/NSBClim_v1.1

Bersch, Manfred; Gouretski, Viktor; Sadikni, Remon; Hinrichs, Iris; (2013): KLIWAS North Sea Climatology of Hydrographic Data (Version 1.1); World Data Center for Climate (WDCC). doi:10.1594/WDCC/KNSC_hyd_v1.0

Boyer, T.P., J. I. Antonov, O. K. Baranova, C. Coleman, H. E. Garcia, A. Grodsky, D. R. Johnson, R. A. Locarnini, A. V. Mishonov, T.D. O'Brien, C.R. Paver, J.R. Reagan, D. Seidov, I. V. Smolyar, and M. M. Zweng, 2013: World Ocean Database 2013, NOAA Atlas NESDIS 72, S. Levitus, Ed., A. Mishonov, Technical Ed.; Silver Spring, MD, 209 pp., doi.org/10.7289/V5NZ85MT

Laane, R.W.P.M.; van Leussen, W.; Radach, G.; Berlamont, J.; Sündermann, J.; van Raaphorst, W. and Colijn, F. North-West European shelf programme (NOWESP): An Overview., 1996

Data citation

Hinrichs,Iris; Gouretski,Viktor; Paetsch,Johannes; Emeis, Kay; Stammer, Detlef (2017). North Sea Biogeochemical Climatology (Version 1.1).

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