Calculation of Salinity from Neutrally Buoyant RAFOS Floats

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  • 1 Institut für Meereskunde an der Universität Kiel, Kiel, Germany
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Abstract

A method to derive salinity data from RAFOS float temperature and pressure measurements is described. It is based on evaluating the float's in situ density from its mechanical properties and in situ pressure and temperature data. The salinity of the surrounding water may then be determined, assuming that the float has reached equilibrium with its environment. This method, in comparison with the possible use of floatborne salinity cells, has the advantage of being both cost and energy neutral and highly stable in the long term.

The effect on the estimated salinity of various parameters used in the determination of the float's in situ density is discussed. Results of seven RAFOS Boats deployed in the Brazil Basin are compared with corresponding CTD data to estimate the magnitude of these errors. At present, an accuracy of 0.3 psu is achieved. The accuracy may be improved to 0.02 psu by referring the float's calculated density to a reference density established by a CTD cast at the time of launch. Results from five floats deployed in the heterogeneous water masses of the Iberian Basin are compared with the corresponding CM casts to demonstrate the variability and interpretation of p-T-S float datasets from different areas.

Abstract

A method to derive salinity data from RAFOS float temperature and pressure measurements is described. It is based on evaluating the float's in situ density from its mechanical properties and in situ pressure and temperature data. The salinity of the surrounding water may then be determined, assuming that the float has reached equilibrium with its environment. This method, in comparison with the possible use of floatborne salinity cells, has the advantage of being both cost and energy neutral and highly stable in the long term.

The effect on the estimated salinity of various parameters used in the determination of the float's in situ density is discussed. Results of seven RAFOS Boats deployed in the Brazil Basin are compared with corresponding CTD data to estimate the magnitude of these errors. At present, an accuracy of 0.3 psu is achieved. The accuracy may be improved to 0.02 psu by referring the float's calculated density to a reference density established by a CTD cast at the time of launch. Results from five floats deployed in the heterogeneous water masses of the Iberian Basin are compared with the corresponding CM casts to demonstrate the variability and interpretation of p-T-S float datasets from different areas.

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