Accuracy and long-term stability assessment of inductive conductivity cell measurements on Argo floats

This study demonstrates the long-term stability of salinity measurements from Argo floats equipped with inductive conductivity cells, which have extended float lifetimes as compared to electrode-type cells. New Argo float sensor payloads must meet the demands of the Argo governance committees before they are implemented globally. Currently, the use of CTDs with inductive cells designed and manufactured by RBR Ltd., has been approved as a Global Argo Pilot. One requirement for new sensors is to demonstrate stable measurements over the lifetime of a float. To demonstrate this, data from four Argo floats in the western Pacific Ocean equipped with the RBRargo CTD sensor package are analyzed using the same Owens-Wong-Cabanes (OWC) method and reference datasets as the Argo Delayed Mode Quality Control (DMQC) operators. When ran with default settings against the standard DMQC Argo and CTD databases, the OWC analysis reveals no drift in any of the four RBRargo datasets and in one case an offset exceeding the Argo target salinity limits. Being a statistical tool, the OWC method cannot strictly determine whether deviations in salinity measurements with respect to a reference hydrographic product (e.g., climatologies) are caused by oceanographic variability or sensor problems. So, this study furthermore investigates anomalous salinity measurements observed when compared to a reference product and demonstrates that anomalous values tend to occur in regions with a high degree of variability and can be better explained by imperfect reference data rather than sensor drift. This study concludes that the RBR inductive cell is a viable option for salinity measurements as part of the Argo Program.


Pacific Ocean, Salinity, Instrumentation/sensors, Profilers, oceanic, Quality assurance/control

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Nezlin Nikolay P., Dever Mathieu, Halverson Mark, Leconte Jean-Michel, Maze Guillaume, Richards Clark, Shkvorets Igor, Zhang Rui, Johnson Greg (2020). Accuracy and long-term stability assessment of inductive conductivity cell measurements on Argo floats. Journal Of Atmospheric And Oceanic Technology. 37 (12). 2209-2223.,

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