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Instrumentation for marine CO2 from remote platforms


OBJECTIVES: We propose to develop analytical methods and technology to obtain accurate data from remote platforms (drifting buoys and merchant ships of opportunity) on the following variables in near-surface seawater:
1) total alkalinity (TA) from drifting buoys, and
2) total carbon dioxide (TC02) and pH from "smart" instruments aboard voluntary observing ships of opportunity.
These aims will be achieved by exploiting recent advances in spectrophotometric detection, flow-injection and infra-red analyser design. Additionally, we will fully evaluate and field-test prototype instruments in the sub-arctic. The new instruments will be integrated with the already extant techniques we have developed for the determination of the fugacity (or partial pressure) of C02(fC02) from these platforms. Thus either type of remote platform will yield data which uniquely and completely define the speciation of inorganic carbon in sea water. These developments will keep Europe at the forefront of remote C02 instrument development.
RATIONALE: The need for development of instruments to remotely gather data on all forms of inorganic carbon in the sea has been highlighted in the international planning of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). Data obtained from deployment of such instruments would contribute greatly to the understanding of the oceanic carbon cycle, the factors governing the natural atmospheric C02 concentration, and the processes controlling air-sea exchange and oceanic uptake of carbon dioxide.
DELIVERABLES: technology to enable extended, accurate, remote determination of all the forms of dissolved inorganic carbon in the sea. A feature of the project will be liason with SMEs in France and the UK who are already involved in exploiting the fC02 techniques previously developed by the partners. The aim will be to ensure that developments made during this project are capable of being incorporated into commercially viable instruments. Another deliverable will be extensive observations of inorganlc carbon in the Nordic seas, as a result of our thorough field evaluation of the instruments in this extreme environment.
SPECIFICATIONS: With the developments outlined in the proposal, the following system performance can be achieved:
1. Ship-of-opportunity instruments:
*unattended "turnkey" operation
*Interval between services (and data retrieval period): 6 weeks.
*Measurements (minimim 3 per hour): fCO2 accurate to 2 microatm, TC02 accurate to 3 micromol kg 1, pH accurate to 0.005 units. Other variables logged: surface temperature, salinity, atmospheric pressure, position and time.
2. Measurement buoys:
*Fully unattended buoys equipped with Argos system for data transmission
*Interval between services: 6 months
*Measurements (minimum 1 per hour): fC02, accurate to 2 microatm, TA (total alkalinity) accurate to 3 micromoles kg/1. Other variables logged: Surface temperature, chlorophyll fluorescence, wind speed, atmospheric pressure, position and time.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


University Plain
United Kingdom

Participants (3)

NERC Centre of Coastal and Marine Sciences
United Kingdom
Prospect Place West Hoe
PL1 3DH Plymouth
Place Jussieu 4
75252 Paris
Universitetet i Bergen
5020 Bergen