GLOSS Data Archaeology

The Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS) is an international programme aiming to establish high-quality sea level networks for climate, oceanographic and coastal sea level research. It’s run by the Joint Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) along with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).

In 2001, GLOSS and the International Data and Information Exchange program (IODE) sent a questionnaire to their contacts with the aim of finding out how much historic analogue tide gauge data in need of rescue they held. Since 2001 they have extended 91 tide gauge series backwards in time for 1,411 years. This data, quality-controlled, is held at GLOSS data centres.

Cromer seafront

The seafront at Cromer, UK

At their 2011 meeting in Paris, the GLOSS Group of Experts discussed the topic of rescuing non-digital tide gauge data. They noted that much historic data remains in paper form in non-oceanographic facilities such as the US National Archives and the French Prefecture Archives. These tide gauge datasets are potentially very valuable to the sea level community in many ways. These include extending existing time series backwards chronologically to gain more knowledge of the time scales of sea level change.
GLOSS are now looking to update their 2001 inventory. They aim to win funding for rescue of historic records by detailing the vast amount of known non-electronic data. They sent this letter (.pdf) to tide gauge operators. It gives a deadline of 1 May 2012, but they’ve extended this to allow more responses.

If your agency/institute/facility holds historic sea level data in non-computer form, could you please fill in this questionnaire (.doc)? If you are aware of other facilities in your country that have non-digital tide gauge records, could you please pass their contact information to GLOSS?