Underway measurement of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in estuarine waters

Dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) is an important parameter of the marine carbonate system. Underway analyses of DIC are required to describe spatial and temporal changes of DIC in marine systems. In this study, we developed a microvolume flow detection method for the underway determination of DIC in marine waters, using gas-diffusion flow analysis in conjunction with electrical conductivity (EC) measurement. Only an acid carrier reagent (0.2 mol.L−1) and an ultrapure water acceptor are required for the DIC monitoring system. In this system, a sampling loop (100 µL) is used to quantify the injection sample volume, allowing micro-sample volume detection. The water sample reacts with the acid reagent to convert carbonate and bicarbonate species into CO2. The water sample is then carried into a gas-diffusion assembly, where the CO2 diffuses from the sampling stream into the acceptor stream. CO2 in the acceptor is detected subsequently by an electrical conductivity. The limit of DIC detection using ultrapure water is 0.16 mM. A good repeatability is obtained, with a relative standard deviation (RSD) of 0.56% (1 mM, n = 21). The time interval for detecting one sample is 5 min. During the observation period, measurements can be switched between standard solutions and water samples automatically. Accuracy and precision of the instrument is sufficient for the underway observation of marine DIC in estuarine waters.

Yan J., Lin Q., Poh S. C., Li Y. & Zhan L., 2020. Underway measurement of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in estuarine waters. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering (8): 765. doi: 10.3390/jmse8100765. Article.

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