The water isotope analyzer is shown in the photo background and a drip of water from the outlet is in the foreground.

Measuring the Ocean, One Drop at a Time

USGS Ocean Acidification researchers on the R/V Atlantis are using an underway flowthrough system aboard the R/V Atlantis to measure the chemical composition of the surface ocean. The underway flowthrough system collects seawater from a port in the ship’s hull, which then flows through a faucet in the lab into instruments such as the water isotope analyzer. These instruments measure chemical properties at a sampling frequency of as much as one data point per second. Since the flow rate through the instrument is about one drop per second, the ship is measuring the ocean about one drop at a time!

The water isotope analyzer is shown in the photo background and a drip of water from the outlet is in the foreground.
The water isotope analyzer is shown in the photo background and a drip of water from the outlet is in the foreground.

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