Repeated hydrographic transects - GO-SHIP


Brief history:

Global hydrographic surveys have been carried out approximately every decade since the 1960s through research programs. In 2009 the Global Ocean Ship-Based Hydrographic Investigations Program (GO-SHIP) was established as part of GOOS to provide international coordination and scientific oversight of the decadal global ocean surveys on a continuing basis.



GO-SHIP provides observations on distributions and changes in inventories of heat, freshwater, carbon, oxygen, nutrients and transient tracers at decadal resolution. The 62 hydrographic reference sections cover all major ocean basins from coast to coast (or coast to ice) and full depth, with water column and underway surface water measurements of the high required accuracy to detect decadal changes in the observed and derived fields.


Location deployment:

Coast-to-coast or coast-to-ice


Data collected:

All the GO-SHIP data are available to the public without restriction.

Main parameters observed are:

Level 1 data: highest priority and should be collected at least once per decade

Level 2 data: highly desirable data and should be collected when possible

Level 3 data: ancillary measurements and collected according to opportunity and space available.

Here are some examples of the parameters measured:

  • Dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC)
  • Total Alkalinity (TAlk)
  • pH
  • CTD pressure, temperature, salinity (calculated)
  • CTD oxygen (sensor)
  • Bottle salinity


Societal applications:

GO-SHIP data are used for climate studies and ocean and ecosystems health monitoring. In particular to:

  • Understand and document large-scale ocean water property distributions, their changes, and the drivers of these changes
  • Answer questions about how a future ocean will increase in dissolved inorganic carbon, become more acidified and stratified, and experience changes in circulation and ventilation processes due to global warming and altered water cycles


If you want to learn more about this program, visit the website: