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QARTOD - Prospects for Real-Time Quality Control Manuals, How to Create Them, and a Vision for Advanced Implementation



Mark Bushnell, Kathleen Bailey, Julie Bosch, Eugene Burger, Jennifer Dorton, Regina Easley, Bob Heitsenrether, Jeff King, Karen Grissom, Mario Tamburri, Julianna Thomas, Christoph Waldmann


The U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Quality Assurance / Quality Control of Real- Time Oceanographic Data (QARTOD) Project marshaled hundreds of volunteer subject matter experts to identify tests to evaluate real-time data quality by instrument type prior to data dissemination. This quality control step is crucial for the collected environmental information to act as a reference for future observations. QARTOD, an ad hoc effort started in 2003 to ensure the quality of real-time data, is now a certification requirement for many observatories. There are three specific aspirations for QARTOD: revision of existing manuals and identification of new manuals, application of the manual development process, and implementation of the manuals. Thirteen QARTOD Quality Control (QC) manuals have been developed and published using a documented and successful community-lead process. This process and the resulting manuals now serve as templates for the development of future QARTOD manuals, revisions to existing manuals, and supporting documents. U.S. IOOS will continue to support these efforts. QARTOD outlines the quality control processes that are required, strongly recommended, and suggested for each sensor type. QARTOD manuals can be developed only when, 1) interoperable data streams are employed, 2) data are disseminated and used in real-time, and 3) there is sufficient community expertise and interest. An initial review of U.S. IOOS core variables and Global Ocean Observing System essential ocean variables (considering these three requirements) reveals no remaining variables with an immediate need for manual development. As technologies advance, the observational maturity increases for these variables, as will the need for a QARTOD manual. QARTOD QC tests are now being implemented by operators at observing systems around the world. Technological progress (e.g., autonomous vehicles) suggests a high potential for expanding the real-time quality control measures integr
Quality Assurance / Quality Control of Real Time Oceanographic Data


ocean-observing, quality control, real-time data


Bushnell, M. , Bailey, K. , Bosch, J. , Burger, E. , Dorton, J. , Easley, R. , Heitsenrether, B. , King, J. , Grissom, K. , Tamburri, M. , Thomas, J. and Waldmann, C. (2020), QARTOD - Prospects for Real-Time Quality Control Manuals, How to Create Them, and a Vision for Advanced Implementation, Quality Assurance / Quality Control of Real Time Oceanographic Data, [online],, (Accessed June 14, 2024)


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Created September 28, 2020, Updated February 21, 2023