3rd June : Sensing and sampling the ocean at the PAP site

A day in the JR221 office. Thanos waiting for the Sensors to be deployed

My name is Thanos Gkritzalis and I’m a chemical engineer working on sensors analysers and samplers that are deployed at the PAP site. The PAP mooring supports a custom made sensor frame that is positioned at 25 m below the sea surface and is equipped with sensors looking at physical (temperature, conductivity, pressure, currents, radiance and irradiance), chemical (oxygen, nitrates-nitrites, carbon dioxide, total dissolved gases) and biological (zooplankton sampler, chlorophyll) parameters.

Some of the sensors (nitrate sensor, chlorophyll fluorometers, oxygen optode) need to be “calibrated” before deployment, so they are attached on the CTD rosette and the data are compared with samples taken from the CTD’s rosette bottles (Niskin bottles) and against the data from similar sensors that are permanently operate the CTD rosette.

Successful operation of the sensors during the long term deployment at the PAP site gives us the opportunity to understand both the short term and long term variability at this part of the N. Atlantic. We can then use the data to calculate indices such as primary production, nutrient cycling, carbon cycling. The data can also be used to validate ocean biogeochemical models or climate change models.

On cruises like that a “normal day in the office” can entail hard work on the ships after deck preparing the sensors for deployment, but at the end of the work staring at the sun setting at the horizon of an endless blue desert is always a relaxing and comforting sight.

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