ICOS-OTC pCO2 inter-comparison

When: 28. June - 11. July 2021
Where: Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) in Oostende, Belgium
Contact: ICOS OTC, Tobias Steinhoff (e-mail: tost@norceresearch.no)

COVID-19 information
Since it is very unclear how the Corona pandemic will develop and what this means for travelling around the world, we decided to develop an alternative plan: 
Plan A: We will go ahead with planning as if there is no pandemic. We realize that likely not everyone will be able to attend due to some form of Covid-19 restrictions, and that if they wish to send their instrument as in plan B they still can.

Plan B: In case travelling is not possible, the inter-comparison will be conducted by a core team of approximately 5 people. All groups who wanted to join the inter-comparison are asked to send their instruments, which will then be operated by the core team. The planned morning sessions will be held online at an appropriate time so that everyone who is interested can join.
We are aware that some groups might not be able/willing to just send their instrument and we totally understand that, but we are confident that we will be able to at least cover the different instruments that are commercially available.

In recent years, new technologies have been evolving with a whole new generation of sensors and instruments measuring pCO2 in both the ocean surface and sub-surface entering the market.  These include «classical» equilibrator based systems with new CO2 detectors to membrane based sensors that can be submerged. 

The aim of this exercise is

  • to compare the performance of instruments and sensors that are (or will be) used within the ICOS community over a range of temperatures and pCO2 levels. 
  • to engage instrument suppliers and manufacturers to work together with the observational community to reach a high level of standardization in operating pCO2 sensors and instruments.
  • to give answers to the community of choosing the appropriate sensor for their application.

So far, more than 50 scientists from around the world are participating either with their instruments or passively with their expertise. We can still accept additional participants. In case you are interested please contact Tobias directly (tost@norceresearch.no).  
The aim is not only to compare different instrumentation, but also to improve the handling of instrumentation and of data, in order to achieve the best possible measurement quality being delivered. Below follows a tentative description of the inter-comparison, which will be amended through community input.

Until the end of 2020,

  • the OTC is gathering information about interested groups and what instrumentation they have expertise with and/or can provide for the exercise
  • the OTC is contacting manufacturers of instruments to raise their interest in participating in the exercise
  • the groups are asked to develop “quick start guides” (QSG) – that describe the necessary steps that are needed for the specific instrument to achieve highest quality measurement. The QSG should be not longer than 2 pages and are meant to complement but not replace the user manual

In the beginning of 2021,

  • the OTC will decide if the inter-comparison takes place following plan A or B
  • the OTC will distribute detailed information about the facility
  • the OTC will finalize the technical details with participating groups

The inter-comparison

  • will run for 2 weeks in early summer 2021
  • can host max. 30 persons at a time
  • will have a daily data discussion to give the chance for adjustments to the deployed instruments
  • will have the necessary infrastructure for the inter-comparison (server space, network, power supplies, pumps, temperature sensors, compressed gas standards, …)

After the inter-comparison

  • the results will be published preferable in a data paper (e.g. ESSD) with actual instrumentation names