The Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT), an activity of the international marine carbon research community, provides access to synthesis and gridded fCO2 (fugacity of carbon dioxide) products for the surface oceans. Version 2 of SOCAT is an update of the previous release (version 1) with more data (increased from 6.3 million to 10.1 million surface water fCO2 values) and extended data coverage (from 1968–2007 to 1968–2011). The quality control criteria, while identical in both versions, have been applied more strictly in version 2 than in version 1. The SOCAT website (http://www.socat.info/) has links to quality control comments, metadata, individual data set files, and synthesis and gridded data products. Interactive online tools allow visitors to explore the richness of the data. Applications of SOCAT include process studies, quantification of the ocean carbon sink and its spatial, seasonal, year-to-year and longerterm variation, as well as initialisation or validation of ocean carbon models and coupled climate-carbon models.