Applications of in situ pH measurements for inorganic carbon calculations

Gray, SEC, DeGrandpre MD, Moore TS, Martz TR, Friederich GE, Johnson KS.  2011.  Applications of in situ pH measurements for inorganic carbon calculations. Marine Chemistry. 125:82-90.

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Autonomous sensor, characterizations, CO(2) system, co2, co2-system, coral-reef, dissociation-constants, high-resolution, inorganic carbon, north pacific, ocean, partial-pressure, seawater ph, synthetic sea-water


This study examines the utility of combining pH measurements with other inorganic carbon parameters for autonomous mooring-based carbon cycle research. Determination of the full suite of inorganic carbon species in the oceans has previously been restricted to ship-based studies. Now with the availability of autonomous sensors for pH and the partial pressure of CO(2) (pCO(2)), it is possible to characterize the inorganic carbon system on moorings and other unmanned platforms. The indicator-based pH instrument, SAMI-pH, was deployed with an autonomous equilibrator-infrared pCO(2) system in Monterey Bay. California USA from June to August 2007. The two-month time-series show a high degree of short-term variability, with pH and pCO(2) changing by as much as 0.32 pH units and 240 mu atm, respectively, during upwelling periods. The pH and salinity-derived alkalinity (A(Tsalin)) were used to calculate the other inorganic carbon parameters, including pCO(2), total dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and CaCO(3) saturation states. The calculated pCO(2) was within 2 mu atm of the measured pCO(2) during the first day of the deployment and within 8 mu atm over the first month. The DIC calculated from pH-A-Ban and pCO(2)-A(Tsalin) were within 5 mu mol kg(-1) of each other during the first month. However, DIC calculated from pH-pCO(2) differed by similar to 50 mu mol kg(-1) from the other estimates over the same period, reflecting the sensitivity of the pH-pCO(2) calculation to measurement error. The data continued to diverge during the final month and this difference was likely driven by extensive biofouling. Because of the relative insensitivity of CO(3)(2-) concentration to these errors, aragonite saturation calculated from the pH-pCO(2) pair was within 0.15 of the pH-A(Tsalin) values over the entire deployment. These results show that in situ pH, when combined with other CO(2) parameters, can provide valuable insights into both data quality and inorganic carbon cycling. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.