Using cavity ringdown spectroscopy for continuous monitoring of d13C(CO2) and ÉCO2 in the surface ocean

M. Becker, N. Andersen, B. Fiedler, P. Fietzek, A. Körtzinger, T. Steinhoff, G. Friedrichs

Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods 10:752-766 (2012) | DOI: 10.4319/lom.2012.10.752

ABSTRACT: The role of the global surface ocean as a source and sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide and the flux strengths between the ocean and the atmosphere can be quantified by measuring the fugacity of CO2 (ƒCO2) as well as the dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentration and its isotopic composition in surface seawater. In this work, the potential of continuous wave cavity ringdown spectroscopy (cw-CRDS) for autonomous underway measurements of ƒCO2 and the stable carbon isotope ratio of DIC [δ13C(DIC)] is explored. For the first time, by using a conventional air-sea equilibrator setup, both quantities were continuously and simultaneously recorded during a field deployment on two research cruises following meridional transects across the Atlantic Ocean (Bremerhaven, Germany-Punta Arenas, Chile). Data are compared against reference measurements by an established underway CO2 monitoring system and isotope ratio mass spectrometric analysis of individual water samples. Agreement within ΔƒCO2 = 0.35 μatm for atmospheric and ΔƒCO2 = 2.5 μatm and Δδ13C(DIC) =0.33‰ for seawater measurements have been achieved. Whereas "calibration-free" ƒCO2 monitoring is feasible, the measurement of accurate isotope ratios relies on running reference standards on a daily basis. Overall, the installed CRDS/equilibrator system was shown to be capable of reliable online monitoring of ƒCO2, equilibrium δ13C(CO2), δ13C(DIC), and pO2 aboard moving research vessels, thus making possible corresponding measurements with high spatial and temporal resolution.