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About Uncertainties in Practical Salinity Calculations : Volume 7, Issue 5 (17/10/2011)

By Le Menn, M.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004020535
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 9
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: About Uncertainties in Practical Salinity Calculations : Volume 7, Issue 5 (17/10/2011)  
Author: Le Menn, M.
Volume: Vol. 7, Issue 5
Language: English
Subject: Science, Ocean, Science
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection (Contemporary), Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Menn, M. L. (2011). About Uncertainties in Practical Salinity Calculations : Volume 7, Issue 5 (17/10/2011). Retrieved from

Description: French Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service (SHOM), SHOM, CS 92803, 29228 Brest Cedex 2, France. In the current state of the art, salinity is a quantity computed from conductivity ratio measurements, with temperature and pressure known at the time of the measurement, and using the Practical Salinity Scale algorithm of 1978 (PSS-78). This calculation gives practical salinity values S. The uncertainty expected in PSS-78 values is ±0.002, but no details have ever been given on the method used to work out this uncertainty, and the error sources to include in this calculation. Following a guide published by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM), using two independent methods, this paper assesses the uncertainties of salinity values obtained from a laboratory salinometer and Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) measurements after laboratory calibration of a conductivity cell. The results show that the part due to the PSS-78 relations fits is sometimes as significant as the instrument's. This is particularly the case with CTD measurements where correlations between variables contribute mainly to decreasing the uncertainty of S, even when expanded uncertainties of conductivity cell calibrations are for the most part in the order of 0.002 mS cm−1. The relations given here, and obtained with the normalized GUM method, allow a real analysis of the uncertainties' sources and they can be used in a more general way, with instruments having different specifications.

About uncertainties in practical salinity calculations

BIPM: Evaluation of measurement data – Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement, JCGM 100:2008, GUM 1995 with minor corrections, 2008.; Bacon, S., Culkin, F., Higgs, N., and Ridout, P.: IAPSO Standard Seawater: definition of the uncertainty in the calibration procedure and stability of recent batches, J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 24, 1785–1799, 2007.; BIPM: Evaluation of measurement data – Supplement 1 to the Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement – Propagation of distributions using a Monte Carlo method, JCGM YYY:2006, 2006.; Culkin, F. and Ridout, P. S.: Stability of IAPSO Standard Seawater, J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 15, 1072–1075, 1998.; Culkin, F. and Smith, N.: Determination of the concentration of potassium chloride solution having the same electrical conductivity, at 15 °C and infinite frequency, as standard seawater of salinity 35,000 \permil, (Chlorinity 19.37394 {%}), IEEE J. Oceanic Eng., OE-5, no. 1, 22–23, 1980.; Fellmuth, B., Fisher, J., and Tegeler, E.: Uncertainty budgets for characteristics of SPRTs calibrated according to the ITS-90, BIPM, CCT/01-02, 2002.; Fofonoff, N. P. and Millard, R. C.: Algorithms for computation of fundamental properties of seawater, Unesco technical paper in marine science 44, 1983.; Jackett, D. R. and McDougall, T. J.: Algorithms for density, potential temperature, conservative temperature and the freezing temperature of seawater, J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 23, 1709–1728, 2006.; Kawano, T., Aoyama, M., and Takatsuki, M.: Inconsistency in the conductivity of standard potassium chloride solutions made from different high-quality reagents, Deep Sea Res. Part. I, 52, 389–396, 2005.; Lueck, R. G.: Thermal inertia of conductivity cells: theory, J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 7, 741–755, 1990.; Mensah, V., Le Menn, M., and Morel, Y.: Thermal mass correction for the evaluation of salinity, J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 26, 665–672, 2009.; Perkin, R. G. and Lewis, E. L.: The Practical Salinity Scale 1978: Fitting the Data, IEEE J. Oceanic Eng., OE-5, no. 1, 9–16, 1980.; Poisson, A.: Conductivity/Salinity/Temperature relationship of diluted and concentrated standard seawater, IEEE J. Oceanic Eng., OE-5, no. 1, 41–50, 1980.; Saunders, P. M., Mahrt, K.-H., and Williams, R. T.: Standard and Laboratory Calibration, WHP Operations and Methods, 1991.; Seitz, S., Spitzer, P., and Brown, R. J. C.: Consistency of practical salinity measurements traceable to primary conductivity standards: Euromet project 918, Accreditation and Quality Assurance, 13, 601–605, 2008.; Seitz, S., Spitzer, P., and Brown, R. J. C.: CCGM-P111 study on traceable determination of practical salinity and mass fraction of major seawater components, Accred. Qual. Assur., 15, 9–17, 2010.; Uschida, H., Kawano, T., and Fukasawa, M.: In situ calibration of moored CTDs used for monitoring abyssal water, J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 25, 1695–1702, 2008.


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