Inventory of Sea Level Data in Need of Rescue

18 Jan 2012

One of the subjects discussed at the recent meeting of the GLOSS Group of Experts (GLOSS GE XII, 7-11 November, 2011, Paris) was the rescue of tide gauge data currently stored in non-computer forms (charts, tabulations, etc.). This group recommended an a renewed effort to identify and catalogue this data. A previous effort in 2001 rescued hourly data from 91 tide gauges, for a total of 1,411 years of data. The quality-controlled versions of this data have been deposited into the GLOSS data centres.

A large amount of historic tide gauge data still remain in paper form and have been identified in non-oceanographic facilities, such as the US National Archives and the French Prefecture Archives. These data sets are invaluable to the sea level community in a range of applications, including extending sea level time series further back in time to better understand sea level change. The GLOSS GE XII recommended an update to the 2001 inventory. The goal is to seek support from funding agencies for further rescue efforts by detailing the vast amount of known non-electronic data. Greater exposure of the inventory will be possible through the GLOSS collaboration with the Data At Risk Task Group of the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) of the International Council for Science (ICSU).

The GLOSS GE (cover letter, a PDF document on the University of Hawaii Sea Level Center, UHSLC, website) asks for assistance in extending the inventory of historic, non-computer tide gauge data. If your agency/institute/facility holds historic sea level data in non-computer form, please download a data questionnaire, a Microsoft Word document from the UHSLC website. They request that the questionnaire be returned to Mr. Patrick Caldwell, by 1 May 2012.