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  • Author or Editor: S. Riser x
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Kenneth S. Johnson, Joshua N. Plant, Stephen C. Riser, and Denis Gilbert


Aanderaa optode sensors for dissolved oxygen show remarkable stability when deployed on profiling floats, but these sensors suffer from poor calibration because of an apparent drift during storage (storage drift). It has been suggested that measurement of oxygen in air, during the period when a profiling float is on the surface, can be used to improve sensor calibration and to determine the magnitude of sensor drift while deployed in the ocean. The effect of air calibration on oxygen measurement quality with 47 profiling floats that were equipped with Aanderaa oxygen optode sensors is assessed. Recalibrated oxygen concentration measurements were compared to Winkler oxygen titrations that were made at the float deployment stations and to the World Ocean Atlas 2009 oxygen climatology. Recalibration of the sensor using air oxygen reduces the sensor error, defined as the difference from Winkler oxygen titrations in the mixed layer near the time of deployment, by about tenfold when compared to errors obtained with the factory calibration. The relative error of recalibrated sensors is <1% in surface waters. A total of 29 floats were deployed for time periods in excess of one year in ice-free waters. Linear changes in the percent of atmospheric oxygen reported by the sensor, relative to the oxygen partial pressure expected from the NCEP air pressure, range from −0.9% to +1.3% yr−1 with a mean of 0.2% ± 0.5% yr−1. Given that storage drift for optode sensors is only negative, it is concluded that there is no evidence for sensor drift after they are deployed and that other processes are responsible for the linear changes.

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Kenneth S. Johnson, Luke J. Coletti, Hans W. Jannasch, Carole M. Sakamoto, Dana D. Swift, and Stephen C. Riser


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.

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