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Proceedings of OceanObs'09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society

COMMUNITY WHITE PAPER10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.39

Adding Oxygen to Argo: Developing a Global In Situ Observatory for Ocean Deoxygenation and Biogeochemistry

Nicolas Gruber(1), Scott C. Doney(2), Steven R. Emerson(3), Denis Gilbert(4), Taiyo Kobayashi(5), Arne Körtzinger(6), Gregory C. Johnson(7), Kenneth S. Johnson(8), Stephen C. Riser(3), Osvaldo Ulloa(9)

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We propose to add dissolved oxygen sensors to the Argo (Global array of free-drifting profiling floats) float program in order to determine, on a global-scale, seasonal to decadal time-scale variations in dissolved oxygen concentrations throughout the upper ocean. Such observations are especially important to document the ocean's expected loss of oxygen as a result of ocean warming, but there are many other benefits including the opportunity to estimate net community and export production, the assessment of changes in low oxygen regions, and improved estimates of the oceanic uptake of anthropogenic CO2. The proposed joint Argo-Oxygen program is made possible by the recent development of dissolved oxygen sensors that are both precise and stable over extended periods and can be easily integrated with the currently used Argo floats. Results from the more than 200 oxygen equipped Argo float have not only demonstrated the feasibility of the program, but also produced already many insights and discoveries. Achieving the main goal of the Argo-Oxygen program does not require any appreciable changes in the deployment and operating strategies of the current Argo program and can therefore be implemented without a significant impact on Argo's core mission. A two-phase implementation is proposed, consisting of a small set of regional pilot-studies, followed by a build-up toward a global implementation. The cost of adding oxygen sensors to all floats of the Argo program is estimated to be about USD 4.2 million per year. The proposed Argo-Oxygen program will add substantial value to Argo by expanding the number of Argo data users, as well as by creating new synergies between the physical and the biogeochemical ocean research communities. The new observations will also contribute to the activities of various international networks and partnerships for Earth Observing Systems.

1Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics, ETH Zurich,, Universitaetstrasse 16 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
2Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 266 Woods Hole Road, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
3School of Oceanography, University of Washington, P.O. 355351, Seattle WA, 98195, U.S.A.
4Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Institut Maurice-Lamontagne, 850 Route de la Mer, Mont-Joli, Qc G5H 3Z4 Canada
5Institute of Observational Research for Global Change and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, 2-15 Natsushima, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, 237-0061, Japan.
6Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften at the University of Kiel, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, D-24105 Kiel, Germany
7NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Pacific Marine Environment Laboratory, 7600 Sand Point Way N.E. Seattle, WA 98115-6349, USA
8Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 7700 Sandholdt Road, Moss Landing, CA 95039-USA
9Departamento de Oceanografía & Centro de Investigación Oceanográfica, Universidad de Concepción, Cabina 7 - Barrio Universitario, Casilla 160-C, Concepción 3, Chile

Correspondence should be addressed to E-mail: nicolas.gruber@env.ethz.ch

This paper shall be cited as:

Gruber, N. & Co-Authors (2010). "Adding Oxygen to Argo: Developing a Global In Situ Observatory for Ocean Deoxygenation and Biogeochemistry" in Proceedings of OceanObs’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Vol. 2), Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009, Hall, J., Harrison, D.E. & Stammer, D., Eds., ESA Publication WPP-306, doi:10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.39

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