Who We Are

High quality in situ measurements are prerequisite for satellite data product validation, algorithm development, and many climate-related inquiries. As such, the NASA Ocean Biology Processing Group (OBPG) maintains a local repository of in situ oceanographic and atmospheric data to support their regular scientific analyses. The SeaWiFS Project originally developed this system, SeaBASS, to catalog radiometric and phytoplankton pigment data used their calibration and validation activities. To facilitate the assembly of a global data set, SeaBASS was expanded with oceanographic and atmospheric data collected by participants in the SIMBIOS Program, under NASA Research Announcements NRA-96 and NRA-99, which has aided considerably in minimizing spatial bias and maximizing data acquisition rates. Archived data include measurements of apparent and inherent optical propertiesphytoplankton pigment concentrations, and other related oceanographic and atmospheric data, such as water temperature, salinity, stimulated fluorescence, and aerosol optical thickness. Data are collected using a number of different instrument packages, such as profilers, buoys, and hand-held instruments, and manufacturers on a variety of platforms, including ships and moorings.

Table of Contents

System Design

The architecture of SeaBASS consists of three tiers: geophysical data and metadata recorded in digital text files that adhere to the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) format; a directory tree structure residing on a dedicated server at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for storage of the data files; and, a relational database management system (RDBMS) used to catalog and distribute the data and files. Through the use of online search engines that interface with the RDBMS, the full bio-optical data set is queriable and available to authorized users via the World Wide Web at this site.


Data are released to the public once they have passed a series of quality control procedures. Data collected prior to 1 January 2010 were released to the NOAA National Oceanographic Data Center.

Additional Web Resources

Additional Reading

SeaBASS Descriptions:

Others from the NASA Technical Report Series:

IOCCG Ocean Optics & Biogeochemistry Protocols for Satellite Ocean Colour Sensor Validation




Last edited by Chris Proctor on 2021-09-09
Created by anonymous on 2012-05-23