Postprint version. Published in Applied Optics, Volume 42, Issue 33, November 20, 2003, pages 6564-6568.
The majority of organic carbon in the oceans is present as dissolved organic matter (DOM); therefore understanding the distribution and dynamics of DOM is central to understanding global carbon cycles. Describing the time-space variability in colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) has been difficult, as standard spectrophotometric methods for CDOM determination are laborious and susceptible to methodological biases. Previously, measurements of CDOM absorption in discrete water samples by use of a liquid-waveguide capillary cell (LWCC) compared favorably with measurements made with a benchtop spectrophotometer. Given this, we focused on automating the LWCC technique to improve our spatial and temporal sampling capabilities for CDOM. We found strong correlations between CDOM absorption spectra collected from discrete water samples using standard methods and selected corresponding CDOM spectra collected by the automated LWCC system. The near-continuous measurements by the LWCC system made it possible to map the temporal, spatial, and spectral variability of CDOM absorption along the ship track.
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