For over 100 years Marine Scotland, under various names, has conducted marine research in the waters around Scotland. From the earliest times this included the measurement of physical and chemical parameters at standard sections worked routinely over a number of years, and at ad hoc stations whose timing and location were determined by individual projects. This paper presents summary tables of a selection of these parameters in twenty six sub-areas of Scottish waters selected because of their distinct hydrographic characteristics.
Only data from 1960 have been used for a number of reasons. Prior to that time salinity, a vital parameter used when determining the origins and history of particular water masses, was determined chemically. Initially salinity samples were analysed by the Laboratory of the Government Chemist, with varying degrees of accuracy and quality control. In later years the analysis was taken on by staff of Marine Scotland, Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen, where it has stayed through to the present day. Many of the chemical techniques presently used for the determination of nutrient concentrations were standardised in the early 1960s. Therefore, data prior to this are of limited value and must be used with caution. Since the early 1960s, analysis techniques, and to a large extent the analysts themselves, have been fairly consistent within the Marine Laboratory. The effect of this has been a high quality, internally consistent data set.
Any collection of environmental data, such as that which exists within the Marine Laboratory, is of most value if it can be readily accessible and in a form useful to potential "customers". Today, this means a computer archived database which may be used in a flexible, user-friendly and problem-oriented manner. Such a database has been constructed from oceanographic data collected by the Marine Laboratory since 1960.
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