Software for Use in Calculation of Primary Production in the Oceanic Water Column

by Trevor Platt and Shubha Sathyendranath.

Biological Oceanography Division, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Box 1006, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, B2Y 4A2

The Software and User Manual for calculating oceanic primary production by a variety of methods, including those based on remotely-sensed data, may be downloaded here. The basic unit of calculation is the daily production on a spatial scale determined by the input data. For example, the methods described here are suitable for use in basin-scale production estimates using a combination of satellite and shipboard observations.

The methods behind the algorithms have already been published in the open literature. There is, however, a large gap between the formal description of a method and a practical implementation. The purpose of the current document is to provide such an implementation.

Users are kindly requested to acknowledge the authors in publications resulting from use of these programs.


This program is designed for use on PC's running MS Windows.

We strongly recommend that you print and/or refer to the read_me file before you install the program.


To install the program:

User manual

The User Manual contains the Primary Production Handbook, and Documentation for 6 programs used in the calculation of primary production. These documents are available in .pdf format.

Primary Production Handbook (29 pages)
This document describes the methods and software used for the calculation of oceanic primary production and related properties. It contains the Table of Contents, plus the following chapters: Introduction, Input Data, Algorithms, Implementation Notes, Bibliography, Appendix A and Appendix B

Non-linear Parameter Estimation (11 pages)
This document provides examples and guidance for estimating some of the input parameters required for the production calculations.

Surface Irradiance (7 pages)
This document describes the program I0 which computes the surface irradiance.

Average Pigment Concentration (9 pages)
This document describes the program AVGC which computes the average pigment concentration for a layer.

Daily, Water-Column Production by Analytic Solution (8 pages)
This document describes the program DWCPA which computes an analytic approximation to the daily, water-column production.

Daily, Water-Column Production by Empirical Estimators (7 pages)
This document describes the program DWCPE which computes various empirical estimators of daily, water-column production. These estimates are provided for historical interest; the other programs in the package will be more suitable for most purposes.

Daily, Water-Column Production by Numerical Approximation (9 pages)
This document describes the program DWCPN which computes a numerical approximation to the daily, water-column production.