Long-Term Nitrate Measurements in the Ocean Using the in situ Ultraviolet Spectrophotometer: Sensor Integration into the APEX Profiling Float

Kenneth S. Johnson Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California

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Luke J. Coletti Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California

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Hans W. Jannasch Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California

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Carole M. Sakamoto Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California

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Dana D. Swift School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

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Stephen C. Riser School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

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Abstract

Reagent-free optical nitrate sensors [in situ ultraviolet spectrophotometer (ISUS)] can be used to detect nitrate throughout most of the ocean. Although the sensor is a relatively high-power device when operated continuously (7.5 W typical), the instrument can be operated in a low-power mode, where individual nitrate measurements require only a few seconds of instrument time and the system consumes only 45 J of energy per nitrate measurement. Operation in this mode has enabled the integration of ISUS sensors with Teledyne Webb Research's Autonomous Profiling Explorer (APEX) profiling floats with a capability to operate to 2000 m. The energy consumed with each nitrate measurement is low enough to allow 60 nitrate observations on each vertical profile to 1000 m. Vertical resolution varies from 5 m near the surface to 50 m near 1000 m, and every 100 m below that. Primary lithium batteries allow more than 300 vertical profiles from a depth of 1000 m to be made, which corresponds to an endurance near four years at a 5-day cycle time. This study details the experience in integrating ISUS sensors into Teledyne Webb Research's APEX profiling floats and the results that have been obtained throughout the ocean for periods up to three years.

Corresponding author address: Kenneth Johnson, MBARI, 7700 Sandholdt Road, Moss Landing, CA 95039. E-mail: johnson@mbari.org

Abstract

Reagent-free optical nitrate sensors [in situ ultraviolet spectrophotometer (ISUS)] can be used to detect nitrate throughout most of the ocean. Although the sensor is a relatively high-power device when operated continuously (7.5 W typical), the instrument can be operated in a low-power mode, where individual nitrate measurements require only a few seconds of instrument time and the system consumes only 45 J of energy per nitrate measurement. Operation in this mode has enabled the integration of ISUS sensors with Teledyne Webb Research's Autonomous Profiling Explorer (APEX) profiling floats with a capability to operate to 2000 m. The energy consumed with each nitrate measurement is low enough to allow 60 nitrate observations on each vertical profile to 1000 m. Vertical resolution varies from 5 m near the surface to 50 m near 1000 m, and every 100 m below that. Primary lithium batteries allow more than 300 vertical profiles from a depth of 1000 m to be made, which corresponds to an endurance near four years at a 5-day cycle time. This study details the experience in integrating ISUS sensors into Teledyne Webb Research's APEX profiling floats and the results that have been obtained throughout the ocean for periods up to three years.

Corresponding author address: Kenneth Johnson, MBARI, 7700 Sandholdt Road, Moss Landing, CA 95039. E-mail: johnson@mbari.org
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