Chukchi mooring returns a year of pH data

The Chukchi Ecosystem Observatory is maintained by a multi-institutional, multi-investigator partnership that includes the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Alaska Ocean Observing System, the North Pacific Research Board, Olgoonik-Fairweather, Université Laval, and the University of Washington.

On a recent research mission, UAF scientists brought home the first set of year-round pH data from the Chukchi Sea. The data came from a mooring known as the Chukchi Ecosystem Observatory, or “CEO”, located about 120 miles northwest of Barrow. In addition to pH, the mooring collects a broad sweet of measurements including sea ice dynamics, ocean physics, nutrient and carbonate chemistry, particulate matter, phytoplankton, zooplankton, fisheries, and marine mammal acoustics.

“When we first tried to download the pH data, the sensor would not respond,” said University of Alaska Fairbanks chemical oceanographer and professor Claudine Hauri. “Our hearts sank. We thought the sensor hadn’t worked. But after a few tries, the full year of data showed up.”

The CEO also returned 4 months of pCO2 data. “pCO2 sensors are really power hungry,” Hauri noted.  “Even though we were very conservative with our power budget calculations, the lithium batteries only lasted until November. Four months isn’t a lot but it’s exciting data because it covers the fall, a very dynamic season with only few data points”.

With pH and pCO2 data, the UAF research team will be able to study the natural variability of these parameters throughout the year, get a better understanding of the chemical habitat of organisms living in this area and in combination with the other collected data, elucidate what drives the observed variability.

The next step of the research will be combining all collected data, including physical, chemical and biological time series.  The CEO mooring is one of the only moorings in the world that collects OA data in addition to a broad suite of biological data such as Chlorophyl a, nitrate, and zooplankton.  Funding is provided by the Alaska Ocean Observing System and the North Pacific Research Board.  Other ocean acidification efforts in the Alaska Arctic include two moorings on the Beaufort Sea shelf west of the Mackenzie River Delta, and one in Stefansson Sound northeast of Prudhoe Bay, both funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.  NOAA research cruises and SailDrones also collected carbon parameters in the Bering and Chukchi Seas this fall (learn more).

For more information on the CEO, contact Claudine Hauri (chauri(at) or Seth Danielson (sldanielson(at)

Alaska Ocean Acidification Network, November 2017. News release.

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