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Energy, Climate change, Environment

Monitoring of global in situ real-time oceanographic data traffic and quality

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is a department of the Government of Canada. Its core business consists in managing Canada’s fisheries and safeguarding its waters.

Its Science Department must acquire, decode, quality control and monitor global oceanographic data from the WMO Global Telecommunication System (GTO) in all relevant code forms (BUFR and TAC), ensure the most complete dataset and identify duplicates. Some platforms show data gaps which may be caused at the source or at the reception. Some platforms transmit data in more than one code forms with different identifiers. Some platforms do not transmit on the GTS but their data are made available by other means, so monitoring the GTS alone does not reveal their existence.

The Science Department must also encode and transmit national data on the GTS in near real-time. Once data is sent to the GTS, the Science Department must monitor whether the transmission was successful, whether the data is correctly encoded and whether the data was properly controlled by existing automatic quality control procedures.

The EMODnet Physics Portal map viewer allows to quickly view where a platform is located and which platforms are located next to it. It proves helpful in identifying duplicate platforms and associating their multiple identifiers when in doubt. The data view also provides a convenient way to validate results from decoders and identify where an error may have occurred. If the user gets the same data as displayed on the EMODnet physics map viewer and associated functionalities, then the problem is usually at the source.

From a national perspective, the portal helps the Science Department ensuring that the data transmitted on the GTS is making its way to the GTS nodes and that the data are properly encoded. The Science Department routinely selects platforms from Canada, clicks on them, and looks at the data plots to see any error or instrument failure not caught by quality control procedures. The Science Department also inspects platform trajectories (tracks) for anything suspicious with the position or time. In one case the Science Department was able to spot one of its drifting buoy who was stranded, which made its quick recovery possible as well as a subsequent buoy redeployment.

The Science Department plans to keep using EMODnet Physics in the future. It is a tool that the less specialized staff of the organisation can use to help meet the organisation’s mandate. Without EMODnet Physics Portal map viewer, the Fisheries and Oceans Canada department would have to “build” equivalent customised tools, which would be resource consuming. EMODnet makes the Fisheries and Oceans Canada department more efficient by allowing various levels of staff, entry-level or more experienced, to contribute to the data monitoring that enables proper data exchange.

About the Fisheries and Oceans department of the Government of Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is a department of the Government of Canada whose core business consists in managing Canada’s fisheries and safeguarding its waters. Its work is centred on four core responsibilities: fisheries aquatic ecosystems, marine navigation and marine operations and response. Each responsibility calls for science-based decision making. The Fisheries and Oceans Canada Science Department, more specifically the Oceans Science branch, heads a section who acts as Canada’s National Oceanographic Data Centre in the IOC’s data exchange panel, IODE. The section is also a Global Data Assembly Centre for Drifting buoys under WMO-IOC’s JCOMM.