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Giuseppe M. R. Manzella and Marco Gambetta


Near-real-time quality control procedures for temperature profiles collected from ships of opportunity were implemented during the 1980s in oceans across the world and from the 1990s in the Mediterranean. In this sea, the procedures were originally based on seven steps (detection of end of profile, gross range check, position control, elimination of spikes, Gaussian smoothing and resampling at 1-m intervals, general malfunction control, and comparison with climatology), complemented with initial and final visual checks. The quality of data derived from a comparison with historical data (namely, climatology) depends on the availability of a huge amount of data that can statistically represent the mean characteristics of the seawater. A significant amount of data has been collected, and the existing temperature database in the Mediterranean can now provide more information on temporal and spatial variability at monthly and mesoscales, and an improved procedure for data quality control has now been adopted. New “best” estimates of monthly temperature profiles are calculated by using a maximum likelihood method. It has been found that more than one “best estimate” temperature can be defined in particular areas and depths, as a consequence of climate variability. Additional near-real-time control procedures have been included in order to provide information on long-term variability associated with data. This information is included in metafiles to be used for reanalysis and studies on long-term variability and changes.

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