Continuous fluorescence-based monitoring of seawater pH in a temperate estuary

Electrical conductivity (salinity), temperature and fluorescence-based measurements of pH were employed to examine diel fluctuations in seawater carbonate chemistry of surface waters in Sydney Harbour over two multiple-day periods. The fluorescence-based technique provided a useful time-series for pH. Alkalinity with pH and temperature were used to calculate the degree of aragonite and calcite saturation (ΩCa and ΩAr respectively). Alkalinity was determined from an alkalinity-salinity relationship. Variation in pH over minute- to hour-long periods was distinguishable from background variability. Diel variability in pH, Ωara and Ωcal showed a clear pattern that appeared to correlate with both salinity and temperature. Drift due to photodegradation of the fluorophore was minimised by reducing exposure to ambient light. ΩCa and ΩAr fluctuated approximately on a daily cycle. The net result of changes in pH, salinity and temperature combined to influence seawater carbonate chemistry. The fluorescence-based pH monitoring technique is simple, provides good resolution and is unaffected by moving parts or leaching of solutions over time. The use of optics is pressure insensitive, making this approach to ocean acidification monitoring well suited to deepwater applications.

Runcie J. W., Krause C., Torres Gabarda S. A. & Byrne M., 2017. Continuous fluorescence-based monitoring of seawater pH in a temperate estuary. Continuous fluorescence-based monitoring of seawater pH in a temperate estuary. Biogeosciences Discussions 1-16. Article.

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