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In Situ Calibration of Moored CTDs Used for Monitoring Abyssal Water

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  • 1 Institute of Observational Research for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka, Japan
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Abstract

To monitor changes in heat content and geostrophic volume transport of abyssal water accurately, 50 moored conductivity–temperature–depth (CTD) recorders used for density measurements were calibrated in situ by simultaneous observations with accurate shipboard CTDs. Comparisons of the data from the moored and shipboard CTDs showed pressure sensitivities of 0–3 mK at 6000 dbar for the temperature sensors of the moored CTDs. From the in situ calibrations, the uncertainties of the moored CTD data for the deep ocean (≥3000 dbar) were estimated to be 0.6 dbar, 0.6 mK, and 0.0026 for pressure, temperature, and salinity, respectively, relative to the shipboard CTD reference. Time drifts of the moored CTD data, estimated from the in situ calibrations before and after 17- or 14-month mooring deployments in the deep ocean, were considerably smaller than typical stabilities as specified by the manufacturer. However, time drifts of the pressure sensors tended to be negative and the result suggests that pressure data from most present Argo floats, which use the same type of pressure sensor, may have a systematic negative bias. Time series salinity data calculated from the in situ–calibrated CTDs were slightly biased (mean of +0.0014) with respect to the shipboard CTD salinity data, based on potential temperature–salinity relationships, possibly due to a disequilibrium of the moored CTD conductivity sensors during the in situ calibrations.

Corresponding author address: Hiroshi Uchida, Institute of Observational Research for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, 2-15 Natsushima, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 237-0061, Japan. Email: huchida@jamstec.go.jp

Abstract

To monitor changes in heat content and geostrophic volume transport of abyssal water accurately, 50 moored conductivity–temperature–depth (CTD) recorders used for density measurements were calibrated in situ by simultaneous observations with accurate shipboard CTDs. Comparisons of the data from the moored and shipboard CTDs showed pressure sensitivities of 0–3 mK at 6000 dbar for the temperature sensors of the moored CTDs. From the in situ calibrations, the uncertainties of the moored CTD data for the deep ocean (≥3000 dbar) were estimated to be 0.6 dbar, 0.6 mK, and 0.0026 for pressure, temperature, and salinity, respectively, relative to the shipboard CTD reference. Time drifts of the moored CTD data, estimated from the in situ calibrations before and after 17- or 14-month mooring deployments in the deep ocean, were considerably smaller than typical stabilities as specified by the manufacturer. However, time drifts of the pressure sensors tended to be negative and the result suggests that pressure data from most present Argo floats, which use the same type of pressure sensor, may have a systematic negative bias. Time series salinity data calculated from the in situ–calibrated CTDs were slightly biased (mean of +0.0014) with respect to the shipboard CTD salinity data, based on potential temperature–salinity relationships, possibly due to a disequilibrium of the moored CTD conductivity sensors during the in situ calibrations.

Corresponding author address: Hiroshi Uchida, Institute of Observational Research for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, 2-15 Natsushima, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 237-0061, Japan. Email: huchida@jamstec.go.jp

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