National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1998

A new automated underway system for making high precision pCO2 measurements aboard ships of opportunity

Feely, R.A., R. Wanninkhof, H.B. Milburn, C.E. Cosca, M. Stapp, and P.P. Murphy

In Proceedings of the Marc'h Mor Workshop, IUEM, Brest, France, 17–19 November 1997, 92–103 (1998)

We have developed a new temperature-controlled, automated underway system for making atmospheric and surface ocean pCO measurements onboard research vessels equipped with a uncontaminated seawater intake system. Uncontaminated seawater is supplied to a showerhead plexiglass equilibrator. After about 3 minutes, the air trapped in the equilibrator is equilibrated with seawater. This air is sampled six times per hour. In addition, atmospheric air is sampled three times per hour from the intake on the bow flagstaff through 3/8" Dekabon? tubing to the underway system. The CO measurements are made with a differential, non-dispersive, infrared analyzer LiCor? (model 6252). The underway system operates on an hourly cycle with the first quarter of each hour devoted to calibration with three CO standards, each measured for 5 minutes. A second order polynomial calibration curve is calculated from the voltage values of the standards. The remaining time in each hour is used to measure equilibrator air (15 min), bow air (15 min), and equilibrator air once again (15 min). To date, we have successfully used the underway pCO system on twelve cruises of the NOAA Ship Ka?imimoana in the Equatorial Pacific. The analytical precision of the system is approximately 0.3-0.4 ppm for seawater and for air.

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