AOML's Physical Oceanography Division (PhOD) uses historical databases, as well as observational data from a wide array of instruments and observing programs within NOAA, to calculate ocean climatologies. Current work is providing complete mean temperature, salinity and density fields for both the North and South Atlantic. In most regions of the open ocean, these outputs resolve mean monthly properties at standard pressure levels (depths), on grids as fine as one quarter degree (0.25° in both latitude and longitude.
To achieve these high resolutions, PhOD combines global historical databases of bottle and CTD (Conductivity-Temperature-Depth) instrument stations, with data from moorings, and ARGO profiling floats. The resulting combined datasets aim to resolve details in mean ocean property fields, and provide a much better understanding of seasonal variability in meridional heat transport across the Atlantic.
In a few very limited areas of the deep water, the world's oceanographers still lack sufficient raw data to generate climatologies with very high resolution in both time and space (t, φ, θ, z). These areas of limited data are exceedingly small in the heavily sampled North Atlantic. They are somewhat larger in the center of the South Atlantic mid-latitude gyre, an area which has been relatively sparsely sampled. Within these small areas, slightly coarser grids of one-half to one whole degree (0.5° - 1.0°) are used to calculate mean property fields.