Calibration and Stability of Oxygen Sensors on Autonomous Floats

Eric A. D'Asaro Applied Physics Laboratory, and School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

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Craig McNeil Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

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Abstract

The calibration accuracy and stability of three Aanderaa 3835 optodes and three Sea-Bird Electronics SBE-43 oxygen sensors were evaluated over four years using in situ and laboratory calibrations. The sensors were mostly in storage, being in the ocean for typically only a few weeks per year and operated for only a few days per year. Both sensors measure partial pressure of oxygen, or equivalently saturation at standard pressure; results are expressed in this variable. It is assumed that sensor drift occurs in the oxygen sensitivity of the sensors, not the temperature compensation; this is well justified for the SBE-43 based on multiple calibrations. Neither sensor had significant long-term drift in output when sampling anoxic water. Sensor output at 100% saturation differed from the factory calibrations by up to ±6% (averaging −2.3% ± 3%) for the SBE-43 and up to −12.6% for the optodes. The optode output at 100% saturation is well described by a single decaying exponential with a decay constant of approximately 2 yr and an amplitude of 28%. The mechanism of this drift is unknown but is not primarily due to sensor operation. It may be different from that experienced by sensors continuously deployed in the ocean. Thus, although the optodes in this study did not have a stable calibration, their drift was stable and, once calibrated, allowed optode and SBE-43 pairs mounted on the same autonomous floats to be calibrated to an accuracy of ±0.4% over a 4-yr period.

Corresponding author address: Eric A. D'Asaro, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, 1013 NE 40th Street, Seattle, WA 98105. E-mail: dasaro@apl.washington.edu

Abstract

The calibration accuracy and stability of three Aanderaa 3835 optodes and three Sea-Bird Electronics SBE-43 oxygen sensors were evaluated over four years using in situ and laboratory calibrations. The sensors were mostly in storage, being in the ocean for typically only a few weeks per year and operated for only a few days per year. Both sensors measure partial pressure of oxygen, or equivalently saturation at standard pressure; results are expressed in this variable. It is assumed that sensor drift occurs in the oxygen sensitivity of the sensors, not the temperature compensation; this is well justified for the SBE-43 based on multiple calibrations. Neither sensor had significant long-term drift in output when sampling anoxic water. Sensor output at 100% saturation differed from the factory calibrations by up to ±6% (averaging −2.3% ± 3%) for the SBE-43 and up to −12.6% for the optodes. The optode output at 100% saturation is well described by a single decaying exponential with a decay constant of approximately 2 yr and an amplitude of 28%. The mechanism of this drift is unknown but is not primarily due to sensor operation. It may be different from that experienced by sensors continuously deployed in the ocean. Thus, although the optodes in this study did not have a stable calibration, their drift was stable and, once calibrated, allowed optode and SBE-43 pairs mounted on the same autonomous floats to be calibrated to an accuracy of ±0.4% over a 4-yr period.

Corresponding author address: Eric A. D'Asaro, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, 1013 NE 40th Street, Seattle, WA 98105. E-mail: dasaro@apl.washington.edu
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