Development of a low-cost marine pCO2 sensor to characterise the natural variability of coastal carbonate chemistry in the context of global change

To aid the investigation into natural variability of coastal carbonate chemistry, pCO2 sensors are an invaluable tool for ease of in-situ data collection. However, these sensors can require not only specific expertise of utilisation but are also inaccessible to many due to high cost. In lieu of an expensive sensor, the most common way to measure pCO2 in seawater is with discrete sampling of water and subsequent analysis for two of the three parameters of the carbonate system (dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), Total alkalinity (AT) or pH) which is then used to calculate a final pCO2 value. This method requires a substantial amount of cost, time and labour to not only retrieve seawater from depth, but also employ precise expertise in analyses with each step being potentially fraught with human error.

This research addressed these issues by developing a low-cost, easy-to-use sensor which efficiently and accurately measured coastal marine pCO2. This required a research and development stage where the sensor and housing design was tested at The University of Glasgow (Chapter 2 and 3) and also deployed in a temperate (Chapter 4) and tropical (Chapter 5) field environment. Seawater samples were also taken and their carbonate chemistry analysed in conjunction with sensor readings to calibrate and confirm the accuracy of the sensor. Along with the developed sensor and the collection of in-situ pCO2 data, other marine variables were also measured (pH, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, salinity, temperature, depth, photosynthetically active radiation, dissolved inorganic carbon and total alkalinity) to obtain a characterisation of the areas and an analysis of the drivers behind these variables.

The observed variability in the temperate area of Caol Scotnish, Loch Sween, Scotland was shown to be highly dependent on biological activity and the tidal action which exchanged different water masses into and out of the site. The observed variability in the tropical area of El Quseir, Egypt was shown to be highly dependent on biological activity, temperature and weather events. The sensor coped well in characterising the concentrations of pCO2 in both sites. There is a larger fluctuation of pCO2 in the tropical site than compared with the temperate site which is dictated by the relative hydrography in each area and the particular weather conditions experienced.

Hill K. S., 2018. Development of a low-cost marine pCO2 sensor to characterise the natural variability of coastal carbonate chemistry in the context of global change. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow. Thesis (restricted access).

1 Response to “Development of a low-cost marine pCO2 sensor to characterise the natural variability of coastal carbonate chemistry in the context of global change”


  1. 1 Md Hadayet Ullah 5 November 2018 at 13:45

    So, will the sensor be available soon to use for the scientific community ?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.




Subscribe to the RSS feed

Powered by FeedBurner

Follow AnneMarin on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 1,184,331 hits

OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book