Global Multi-Archive Current Meter Database

What is GMACMD

GMACMD is a database of in-situ oceanographic time series data in MATLAB with a strong emphasis on current meters. Data from a number of sources (OSU Buoy Group, NODC, FAOC, etc.) have been collected and stored in a common MATLAB format . Template scripts are included that allow users to remove duplicate records, group data into moorings, and sort data according to specified criteria. Also, GMACMD carries out a number of additional quality control checks on the data (e.g., climatological temperature data is used to check instrument depth when there is a temperature time series present, bottom topograhy data is used to check sea floor depth of records, etc.). At time of writing GMACMD contains 73,251 records (a record being a set of time series at a particular location).

GMACMD is maintained by Darran Furnival (, with funding organized by, and scientific input from, Rob Scott.

How to obtain GMACMD

GMACMD is not publically avialable but can be obtained through request to Rob Scott.
Note that we are not allowed to distribute the data in our archive that we obtained from BODC so users will be given a 'sans BODC' version of GMACMD. However, we will provide the MATLAB scripts that we used to process BODC data so if users wish they can download data from BODC's website and incorporate it into their own GMACMD.

We would ask users to be aware that we developed GMACMD for use in our own research and so it's not a highly polished looking end product; it's a large collection of data (mostly in ascii format) and MATLAB scripts. However, we do think it's much easier to use than downloading the data from the source archives. User's can download some documentation here. The general description and user's guide is here: GMACMD user's guide documentation.
The specific details of problems we found with the data and what we did about it, organized by source archive, is here: GMACMD notes on data issues and procedures.

How to update GMACMD

The only way to update the whole archive to take advantage of new data that we have obtained is to obtain a new version through personal communication. However, users should be aware that it is possible to update the GMACMDlib directory through SVN.

The GMACMDlib directory contains all the MATLAB scripts that process the data and is frequently updated. There may be miskakes in the source data that we have discovered and corrected. There may be bugs in our own scripts that we have fixed. There may be new quality control measures implemented. So it is very much in the users interest to keep their GMACMDlib directory up to date.

In order to do this implement the following steps (note: you must have SVN installed on your system for this to work):

1. Remove your own GMACMDlib directory from GMACMD. (This is best done by moving it to another location outside of GMACMD so it can be recovered if something goes wrong.)

2. From inside the GMACMD root directory (called GMACMD), type (where >> indicates your unix prompt):

>> svn checkout svn://

This should create a new GMACMDlib directory within GMACMD. This new GMACMDlib directory is a working copy of our GMACMDlib repository.

3. To update your GMACMDlib directory in the future, from within the directory type:

>> svn update

It may be possible that the new GMACMDlib directory is incompatible with your version of GMACMD. If this is so you can either replace it with the original GMACMDlib which you've saved elsewhere or contact us and we can try to fix the problem through email.

Note that at present you can only update from the GMACMDlib SVN repository. That is, you cannot commit your own changes to the repository.

Publications using GMACMD or the earlier CMD

7. Wright, Corwin, Robert B. Scott, Darran G. Furnival, Pierre Ailliot, and Frank Vermet (2012): Global Observations of Ocean-Bottom Subinertial Current Dissipation, JPO, under revision.

6. Timko, Patrick G., Brian K. Arbic, James G. Richman, Robert B. Scott, E. Joseph Metzger, and Alan J. Wallcraft (2012): Skill tests of three-dimensional tidal currents in a global ocean model: A look at the North Atlantic, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, Vol. 117, C08014, doi:10.1029/2011JC007617.

5. Wright, Corwin and Robert B. Scott and Brian K. Arbic, and Darran G. Furnival (2012): Ocean-eddy dissipation estimates at the Atlantic zonal boundaries, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, Vol. 117, doi:10.1029/2011JC007702.

4. Scott, R.B., John A. Goff, Alberto Naveira Garabato, A.J. George Nurser (2011): Global rate and spectral characteristics of internal gravity wave generation by geostrophic flow over topography, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, doi:10.1029/2011JC007005.

3. Scott, R. B., B. K. Arbic, E. P. Chassignet, A. C. Coward, M., Maltrud, W. J. Merryfield, A. Srinivasan, and A. Varghese, Total kinetic energy in four global eddying ocean circulation models and over 5000 current meter records, Ocean Modelling, 32, 157-169, 2010, doi:10.1016/j.ocemod.2010.01.005, #2182

2. Arbic, B. K., J. F. Shriver, P. J. Hogan, H. E. Hurlburt, J. L. McClean, E. J. Metzger, R. B. Scott, A. Sen, O. M. Smedstad, and A. J. Wallcraft, Estimates of bottom flows and bottom boundary layer dissipation of the oceanic general circulation from global high-resolution models, J. Geophys. Res., 114, C02024, 2009, doi:10.1029/2008JC005072, #2059

1. Sen, A., R. B. Scott, and B. K. Arbic, Global energy dissipation rate of deep-ocean low-frequency flows by quadratic bottom boundary layer drag: Computations from current-meter data, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L09606, 2008, doi:10.1029/2008GL033407, #2016


This work was supported with funding from several organizations. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF) or other funding organizations.
  • National Science Foundation, USA
  • National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, NERC, UK.
  • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France.
  • Marie Curie Career Integration Grant, EU
  • Stratégie d'Attractivité Durable, Région Bretagne, France.