Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date


Spatial Information

79°S - 71°S, 163˚E - 155°W; Ross Sea continental shelf, Antarctica.

Data Access

Data are available in compressed file via "Download" button.


This dataset includes data used in the publication Smith and Kaufman (2018), Progress in Oceanography, which examines the temporal and spatial distributions of nutrients and particulate matter in the Ross Sea continental Shelf using cruise-based observations, and compares the resulting annual productivity estimates with previously reported satellite-based estimates. Specifically, these data represent distributions of nutrients, chlorophyll, particulate organic carbon, particulate organic nitrogen, and biogenic silica that were compiled from 42 cruises (from 1967 - 2016) to the Ross Sea continental shelf to generate a comprehensive climatological dataset for November, December, January, and February. This climatology provides a novel look at broad biochemical patterns that span roughly a half-century.


Contained within are data files associated with research cruises to the Ross Sea, Antarctica, annual and monthly climatologies of chlorophyll, nutrients, and particulate matter, and the code used to calculate the climatological fields presented in the associated publication. A compressed ZIP file is provided via download, which can be decompressed and opened with common software on unix/windows/mac (such as unzip, gzip, winzip, unarchiver, etc.). Along with the files, there is a README with further file descriptions. The contained files are in comma-separated formats and “.m” files. The “.m” files are simple text that can be run using the MATLAB numerical computing environment (MATLAB Image Processing Toolbox is an additional dependency to use the 'medfilt2' function). For information about MATLAB, please see

File | Description


  • README.docx: Description of this archive in Microsoft Word format.
  • README.txt: Description of this archive in plain text format.

Data Files

  • Comma-separated value tables containing research cruise data used to generate the climatologies.
  • Code output - Comma-separated value tables generated by the climatology algorithm for each variable.

Script File

  • MATLAB code used to generate the climatologies for each variable. The algorithm is contained in the “climatology_gen” function. The “run_…” scripts (one for single variables and one for particulate matter ratios) read, clean, and parse the data as well as run the climatology algorithm.

Figure Files

  • data_month_histogram.png: The distribution of observations used in the generation of the climatology, indicating daily data frequency.
  • data_spatial_map.png: Map of the Ross Sea continental shelf showing the location of observations used to calculate the climatological fields.



Ross Sea, climatology, chlorophyll, particulate matter, particulate organic carbon, productivity, phytoplankton, diatoms, Phaeocystis antarctica, nutrients

Associated Publications

Smith, W.O., Jr. and Kaufman, D.E. (2018). Climatological Temporal and Spatial Distributions of Nutrients and Particulate Matter in the Ross Sea. Progress in Oceanography, 168, 182-195,

Publication Statement

ORCID of authors: Walker O. Smith Jr.: 0000-0003-4304-1980 Daniel E. Kaufman: 0000-0002-1487-7298


This research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (ANT-0944254 and ANT-1443258).