Chemical Sensors in Oceanography



About 40 years ago, I served as graduate student labor on the International Indian Ocean Expedition, where I carried out what seemed to be vast numbers of routine chemical analyses of sea water. I vowed, as have many others, that on my return I would find a better way. From this effort, the first uses of “autoanalyzers” for sea water emerged. Over the years, the demand for fundamental scientific data from the oceans has increased enormously, as has the range of properties and the need for precision and rapidity. The recent global ocean survey of carbon dioxide and related properties carried out by the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study, and World Ocean Circulation Experiment, cruises is but one example of the huge effort involved. There has long been a desire for a set of sophisticated yet robust sensors that would do the job with minimum labor and produce data of maximum quality in environments ranging from the sea surface to the ocean floor. This is quite a tall order!