EAF Nansen Data Service

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Data collected with R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen since 1975

The 34 years of uninterrupted surveys with the research vessel R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen, in the framework of various phases of Nansen Programme, have been focused on development cooperation in countries throughout the world. These surveys have produced a comprehensive amount of observational data both on marine resources and oceanography. The unique value of these data lies in the fact that they concern some the least studied regions of the coastal tropical oceans where such data is generally scarce.

Following its principal objectives the program promoted the stewardship of core data on marine resources. Since 1980s, fishing data has been managed systematically and distributed to the users by means of an integrated data management and analysis software, which was specifically designed for this purpose. This dataset comprises the main managed data from EAF-Nansen program.

Notwithstanding, there were other data categories that were also routinely collected by these surveys, but which were not included in the integrated software. The number of these data types has been systematically increasing since 1994, as more automated electronic instrumentation have been deployed to the vessel and logged the data with producer-supplied firmware. The bulk of such automatically collected data have been preserved only in their original raw data formats. These data were distributed to its participants upon conclusion of the surveys on external media, ranging from floppy discs in the 1980s, through CD-ROMS in the 1990s, DVDs and, more recently, on external hard disks. Long-term stewardship was generally not carried out for these data categories with the exception of the Conductivity-Temperature-Depth-Oxygen (CTDO) profiles, maintained in a dedicated database.

The repository of the raw (unmanaged) data at the IMR, Norway

In addition to the immediate transfer of raw data files collected during a survey to its participants, a copy of the same data was brought to the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) in Norway for permanent storage. Designed for pure backup purposes, the copies have expanded over the years to a continuous time series stored in a single place. It comprises all unmanaged data categories collected with R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen since 1975. This repository is maintained at the The Centre for Development Cooperation in Fisheries (CDCF), a department at the IMR.

Data categories in the unmanaged data archive

The content of the raw data repository is limited to backups of the primary instrumental data as collected on board the vessel and stored using firmware formats, exclusive of the CTDO data stored in the dedicated database. The bulk of the data in this repository have been generally preserved without full quality control. The users of these data are therefore advised to precede analyses with their validation.

The following table summarizes the content of the repository. The associated links lead to more detailed descriptions for of the listed data types.


Principal data categories maintained in the raw data archive at the CDCF
# Dataset category Year range Parameters included
1 Watter bottles 1975-1991 Temperature, salinity, oxygen at discrete depth levels
2 CTDO casts 1994 - 2007 Temperature, salinity, oxygen profiles at 1m resolution
3 CTDOF casts 2008 - now Temperature, salinity, oxygen and fluorescence at 1 m resolution
4 Meteorology data 1994 - now Wind speed, wind direction, air temperature, sea temperature at 5 m depth measured underway
5 Sea surface salinity 2004 - 2007 Salinity at 5 m depth derived from conductivity. An underway measurement
6 Sea surface salinity and fluorescence 2008 - now Salinity and fluorescence measured underway
7 ADCP currents 2005 - now ADCP-derived currents measured underway
8 Echograms 1994 - now Single and multi- frequency echogram data collected underway with ping-to-ping horizontal resolution of 10 m.

R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen data and the PREFACE project

PREFACE is the acronym for the EU funded project with the title Enhancing prediction of Tropical Atlantic climate and its impacts. A more detailed insight on the project can be read here, while to have an overview of all partners involved in the project follow this link. The EAF Data service is not a part of PREFACE. It operates on behalf of the African data owners, according to the FAO - EAF Nansen Program regulations to facilitate the transfer data between the data owners and the users.

Data ownership

The data collected by the surveys in the framework of the Nansen Programme are, as the matter of the principal data policy, owned by a developing country, which hosts a specific survey or, in the case of transboundary surveys, are shared by such neighboring countries. As the transboundary surveys constitute a large proportion of the total survey effort, the bulk of the historically collected data has a shared ownership.

According to the above policy, access to data in the repository is restricted to their owners and those users who are authorized by them.

Data inventories

An ftp site providing access to the repository for the authorized users is currently under construction. Requests to access the data on that server (when it becomes operational) should be directed to the respective data owners, based on the inventories of available survey data.

The table below lists the regions off West Africa surveyed with the R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen during the years 1994-2010 [Early draft version. Update required] with information on the data ownership. Additionally, by clicking on each of the regions from the table, it is possible to consult the list of surveys conducted in the area, during the referred period. A description of the fields contained in the inventories can be consulted here.

The list of data contained in the inventories is the data being prepared to become available in the ftp site. The data can be grouped in three categories: CTDO/CTDOF casts, ADCP data and acoustic raw data (single and multifrequency). The surveys conducted in areas not relevant to the PREFACE project are not included in the available catalogues.


Catalogue of surveys and ownership of the data collected with R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen off West Africa 1994-2010.
# Region click on a link to access a survey inventory Data originator
1 Northwest Africa: Senegal to Morocco, data before 2007 Institut National de Recherche Halieutique, Casablanca, Maroc (INRH)

Institut Mauritanien de Recherches Océanographiques et des Pêches, Nouadhibou, Mauritania (IMROP)

Centre de Recherches Océanographiques de Dakar-Thiaroye - Dakar, Senegal (CRODT)

Fisheries Department, Banjul, The Gambia (FD)

2 Northwest Africa: Senegal to Morocco, data 2011-2013 The Regional Coordinating Unit of the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem Project (CCLME)
3 The Gulf of Guinea and Congo Gabon Region The Guinea Current LME Project
4 Angola Instituto Nacional de Investigação Pesqueira
5 Namibia National Marine Information and Research Centre (NatMIRC)
6 Joint surveys Angola-Namibia The Benguela Current Commission (BCC)
Remarks on the access to data via the FTP server

The data gathered for a single survey consists in a comprehensive amount of data. This means that the FTP server will be populated with the data according with a pre-defined priority system. However, PREFACE Project participants are invited to communicate their data requests. These requests shall be taken into consideration and prioritized whenever possible.

Applicants will be informed when the requested data starts to be available for download. The data shall be transferred to the partners participating on the PREFACE Project under the previously defined guidelines.