PMEL Group Awarded Technology Transfer Award

Scientists and engineers from PMEL's Carbon Group and Engineering Development Division were awarded a 2011 NOAA Technology Transfer Award for developing a sensor to measure carbon dioxide concentrations in the surface ocean and overlying atmosphere and transferring this design to a commercial vendor. Federal employee recipients include Christopher Sabine, Stacy Maenner Jones, Christian Meinig, Noah Lawrence-Slavas, Patrick McLain, and Randy Bott. Sylvia Musielewicz was also recognized as University of Washington Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean contributor to the transfer.

In 2004, the moored CO2 program was initiated by the Climate Program Office (CPO) as part of the Global Ocean Observing System. To initiate the development of a global moored CO2 network, the PMEL carbon group worked with researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) to take a drifting pCO2 system MBARI had developed and use it as a starting point for a robust moored CO2 sensor. Over the next 5 years the PMEL carbon group worked to make the PMEL moored pCO2 systems (called MAPCO2) more accurate, more reliable and easier to deploy. The MAPCO2 systems collect CO2 data from surface seawater and marine boundary air every three hours for up to a year at a time before they need servicing. Daily summary files of the measurements are transmitted back to PMEL where the data are examined and plots of the results are posted to the web in near-real time.

In 2009 the PMEL carbon group started working with Battelle Memorial Institute to transfer the MAPCO2 technology so the systems could be commercially produced and more accessible to the larger scientific community. The transfer took many months of close interactions between Battelle and PMEL, but in the end a very high quality product was produced. Battelle markets the system under the name Seaology.

Battelle Logo

Today, the PMEL carbon group operates dozens of Seaology systems in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans in collaboration with a wide range of partners. Many other U.S. and international scientists are also purchasing and deploying Seaology sensors around the world.