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Processing of Underway CTD Data

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  • 1 Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, Rhode Island
  • | 2 Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
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Abstract

A processing methodology for computation of accurate salinity from measurements with an underway CTD (UCTD) is presented. The UCTD is a rapidly profiling sensor package lacking a pump that relies on instrument motion to produce flow through the conductivity cell. With variable instrument descent rate, the flow through the cell is not constant, and this has important implications for the processing. As expected, the misalignment of the raw temperature and conductivity is found to be a function of the instrument descent rate. Application of a constant temporal advance of conductivity or temperature as is done with pumped CTDs is shown to produce unacceptable salinity spiking. With the descent rate of the UCTD reaching upwards of 4 dbar s−1, the effect of viscous heating of the thermistor is shown to produce a significant salinity error of up to 0.005 psu, and a correction based on previous laboratory work is applied. Correction of the error due to the thermal mass of the conductivity cell is achieved using a previously developed methodology with the correction parameters varying with instrument descent rate. Comparison of salinity from the UCTD with that from a standard shipboard, pumped CTD in side-by-side deployments indicates that the processed UCTD salinity is accurate to better than 0.01 psu.

Corresponding author address: David S. Ullman, Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, 215 South Ferry Road, Narragansett, RI 02882. E-mail: dullman@mail.uri.edu

Abstract

A processing methodology for computation of accurate salinity from measurements with an underway CTD (UCTD) is presented. The UCTD is a rapidly profiling sensor package lacking a pump that relies on instrument motion to produce flow through the conductivity cell. With variable instrument descent rate, the flow through the cell is not constant, and this has important implications for the processing. As expected, the misalignment of the raw temperature and conductivity is found to be a function of the instrument descent rate. Application of a constant temporal advance of conductivity or temperature as is done with pumped CTDs is shown to produce unacceptable salinity spiking. With the descent rate of the UCTD reaching upwards of 4 dbar s−1, the effect of viscous heating of the thermistor is shown to produce a significant salinity error of up to 0.005 psu, and a correction based on previous laboratory work is applied. Correction of the error due to the thermal mass of the conductivity cell is achieved using a previously developed methodology with the correction parameters varying with instrument descent rate. Comparison of salinity from the UCTD with that from a standard shipboard, pumped CTD in side-by-side deployments indicates that the processed UCTD salinity is accurate to better than 0.01 psu.

Corresponding author address: David S. Ullman, Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, 215 South Ferry Road, Narragansett, RI 02882. E-mail: dullman@mail.uri.edu
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