Oceanographic Variables available on Mapping Tool

See Oceanographic Variables

To see the sampled oceanographic data online (on Advanced Search, Dataset Page or Species Page),

  1. Switch to the points layer.
  2. Choose [identify] in the toolbar.
  3. Click the observation point on the map you are interested in.
  4. In the Data Panel below the map displays the information on the point including the oceanographic variable section where you can see SST, SSH, CHL, Salinity and bathymetry. See sampled values online


  • Depending on the location and date of the observation point, not all oceanographic variables may be sampled.

Charting on Oceanographic Variables

You can see a graph of the temporal change of the sampled oceanographic data online.

  1. Make sure your current map shows what you are looking into (e.g. species, datasets and/or region of interest ).
  2. Click [Charts] icon in the icon tray at the left side of the window. The chart panel will open up.
  3. You can change the temporal scale by zooming in / out.
  4. Select a oceanographic variable from the dropdown menu for the 2nd Y axis. Sea surface temperature, sea surface height, chlorophyll-a, Salinity and Bathymetry are available.
  5. Mouse over the dot of the oceano line to get the value. Graphs of oceano variables

Download Sampled Values and Utilize Them

The sampled oceanographic data are included in the downloaded ESRI file geodatabase and CSV file for both species and datasets. The data are written in JSON format in the "oceano" field and you will need to parse them to utilize individual values.


You will probably need to write VBA codes to parse JSON string for genetic use of the JSON data. There are a couple of sample codes found online.

If you just want to parse out the value for a particular variable (e.g. Monthly SST from OISST), you can enter a forluma in a cell like:

=MID(R2, FIND("MONTH", R2, FIND("OISST", R2)) + LEN("MONTH") + 3, FIND(",", R2, FIND("MONTH", R2, FIND("OISST", R2))) - (FIND("MONTH", R2, FIND("OISST", R2)) + LEN("MONTH") + 3))

ESRI File Geodatabase

Below describes an example of how to parse the oceano field in the feature class with ArcGIS 10.x.
In this example, the monthly SST value from OISST is added to a new field in the feature class.

  1. Load the feature class into an ESRI ArcMap document.
  2. Open Attribute Table.
  3. Add a field of type double. In this exmaple, name it "sst_monthly".
  4. Right-click on the newly added field and choose [Field Calculator].
  5. In the Field Calculator dialog, choose "Python" as Parser.
  6. Check [Show codeblock]
  7. Define a function in the code block something like below.
    import json
    def parseJson(oceano, param1, param2, param3):
        data = json.loads(oceano)
        return data[param1][param2][param3]
  8. In the expression box, enter the expression like below.
    parseJson(!oceano!, "SST", "OISST", "MONTH")
  9. Click [OK]. Then, the sampled monthly SST value will be inserted in the sst_monthly field.


Did the sampled oceanographic data come from in-situ measurements?
No. The oceanographic data were sampled from satellite images.
What data/layers did you use to sample the environment values?
See Layer Selection Overview which is also available as an online help within the Mapping Tool.
Why do some points have SST, SSH and chlorophyll while others have SST only?
What variables are sampled is determined by the date and location of the observation. Due to the varying availability of the data, older observations will have fewer variables sampled. For example, an observation made in 1990 will have SST sampled but no chlorophyll because chlorophyll data are available since 1997.
Also note that an oceano layer may be sporadic space-wide if the sample period is short like daily.
I don't see oceanographic data in newer observations. What is the status?
The supported years of oceanographic layers vary layer by layer. For example, Pathfinder 5.1 was terminated in 2009. Thus, observations since 2010 do not have Pathfinder 5.1 SST sampled. Also, there is a few months of the time lag for the latest layers. So the observations in recent months may not get oceanographic variables sampled yet.
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