High resolution pH measurements using a lab-on-chip sensor in surface waters of northwest european shelf seas

Increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations are resulting in a reduction in seawater pH, with potential detrimental consequences for marine organisms. Improved efforts are required to monitor the anthropogenically driven pH decrease in the context of natural pH variations. We present here a high resolution surface water pH data set obtained in summer 2011 in North West European Shelf Seas. The aim of our paper is to demonstrate the successful deployment of the pH sensor, and discuss the carbonate chemistry dynamics of surface waters of Northwest European Shelf Seas using pH and ancillary data. The pH measurements were undertaken using spectrophotometry with a Lab-on-Chip pH sensor connected to the underway seawater supply of the ship. The main processes controlling the pH distribution along the ship’s transect, and their relative importance, were determined using a statistical approach. The pH sensor allowed 10 measurements h−1 with a precision of 0.001 pH units and a good agreement with pH calculated from a pair of discretely sampled carbonate variables dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), total alkalinity (TA) and partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) (e.g., pHDICpCO2). For this summer cruise, the biological activity formed the main control on the pH distribution along the cruise transect. This study highlights the importance of high quality and high resolution pH measurements for the assessment of carbonate chemistry dynamics in marine waters.

Rérolle V. M. C., Achterberg E. P., Ribas-Ribas M., Kitidis V., Brown I., Bakker D. C. E., Lee G. A. & Mowlem M. C., 2018. High resolution pH measurements using a lab-on-chip sensor in surface waters of northwest european shelf seas. Sensors 18 (8): 2622. doi:10.3390/s18082622. Article.

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