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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Review article 17 Apr 2018

Review article | 17 Apr 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Earth System Science Data (ESSD).

A novel inter-comparison of nutrient analysis at sea: recommendations to enhance comparability of open ocean nutrient data

Triona McGrath1, Margot Cronin2, Elizabeth Kerrigan3, Douglas Wallace3, Clynton Gregory1, Claire Normandeau3, and Evin McGovern2 Triona McGrath et al.
  • 1National University of Ireland, Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland
  • 2The Marine Institute, Ireland, Rinville, Oranmore, Galway, Ireland
  • 3Dalhousie University Canada, LSC Ocean Wing, 1355 Oxford St., PO Box 15000, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4R, Canada

Abstract. An inter-comparison study has been carried out on the analysis of inorganic nutrients at sea following the operation of two nutrient analysers simultaneously on the GO-SHIP A02 trans-Atlantic survey in May 2017. Both instruments were Skalar San++ Continuous Flow Analysers, one from the Marine Institute, Ireland and the other from Dalhousie University, Canada, each operated by their own laboratory analysts following GO-SHIP guidelines, while adopting their existing laboratory methods. High quality control of the nutrient analysis was achieved on both instruments and there was high comparability between the two datasets. Vertical profiles of nutrients also compared well with those collected in 1997 along the same A02 transect by the World Ocean Circulation Experiment. The comparison of the two 2017 datasets and individual laboratory methods, did however raise some interesting questions on the comparison of nutrients analysed from different systems, in particular the calibration range of daily standards and its influence on low nutrient samples, and the importance of using certified reference materials of high and low concentrations to identify bias in the data. Based on the results from this inter-comparison, a number of recommendations have been suggested that we feel will enhance the existing GO-SHIP guidelines to improve the comparability of global nutrient datasets. The A02 nutrient dataset is currently available at the National Oceanographic Data Centre of Ireland;

Triona McGrath et al.
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Triona McGrath et al.
Triona McGrath et al.
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Short summary
We report results from an inter-comparison exercise on the analysis of nutrients at sea where two independent teams (Marine Institute, Ireland and Dalhousie University Canada) carried out analysis on a GO-SHIP hydrographic section. The cruise provided a unique opportunity to assess the likely comparability of nutrient data collected following GO-SHIP protocols. Datasets were high quality and compared well but highlighted a number of issues relevant to the comparability of global nutrient data.
We report results from an inter-comparison exercise on the analysis of nutrients at sea where...