Abstract. The Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) is an effort by the international marine carbon research community. It aims to improve access to carbon dioxide measurements in the surface oceans by regular releases of quality controlled and fully documented synthesis and gridded fCO2 (fugacity of carbon dioxide) products. SOCAT version 2 presented here extends the data set for the global oceans and coastal seas by four years and has 10.1 million surface water fCO2 values from 2660 cruises between 1968 and 2011. The procedures for creating version 2 have been comparable to those for version 1. The SOCAT website (http://www.socat.info/) provides access to the individual cruise data files, as well as to the synthesis and gridded data products. Interactive online tools allow visitors to explore the richness of the data. Scientific users can also retrieve the data as downloadable files or via Ocean Data View. Version 2 enables carbon specialists to expand their studies until 2011. Applications of SOCAT include process studies, quantification of the ocean carbon sink and its spatial, seasonal, year-to-year and longer-term variation, as well as initialisation or validation of ocean carbon models and coupled-climate carbon models.