Worley, S. J., S. D. Woodruff, R. W. Reynolds, S. J. Lubker, and N. Lott, 2005: ICOADS release 2.1 data and products. Int. J. Climatol., 25, 823-842.


The International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS), release 2.1 (1784-2002), is the largest available set of in situ marine observations. Observations from ships include instrument measurements and visual estimates, and data from moored and drifting buoys are exclusively instrumental. The ICOADS collection is constructed from many diverse data sources, and made inhomogeneous by the changes in observing systems and recording practices used throughout the period of record, which is over two centuries. Nevertheless, it is a key reference data set that documents the long-term environmental state, provides input to a variety of critical climate and other research applications, and serves as a basis for many associated products and analyses.

The observational database is augmented with higher level ICOADS data products. The observed data are synthesized to products by computing statistical summaries, on a monthly basis, for samples within 2° latitude × 2° longitude and 1° × 1° boxes beginning in 1800 and 1960 respectively. For each resolution the summaries are computed using two different data mixtures and quality control criteria. This partially controls and contrasts the effects of changing observing systems and accounts for periods with greater climate variability. The ICOADS observations and products are freely distributed worldwide.

The standard ICOADS release is supplemented in several ways; additional summaries are produced using experimental quality control, additional observations are made available in advance of their formal blending into a release, and metadata that define recent ships' physical characteristics and instruments are available.