Units Used in Chemical Oceanography
In chemical oceanography most of the numerical results are expressed as concentrations—that is, as the amounts of various constituents in a certain quantity of sea water. Obviously many different combinations
Only two units are to be used for expressing the quantity of sea water: either (1) the kilogram or (2) the amount of water which at 20° C. and pressure one atmosphere occupies the volume of one liter. The latter unit is designated as L20, but in this discussion it will be indicated as L. The system in which the constituents are reported as the amounts present per liter is designated as the “preferred” one, with an alternative for the abundant substances that may be reported as grams per kilogram of sea water. Salinity and chlorinity are always reported as grams per kilogram of sea water. It should be understood that the proposed system applies only to the reporting of analytical data in the literature. Any suitable units may be adopted for the discussion of special problems.
For expressing the amounts of the dissolved constituents, two types of units are proposed: (1) physical units of mass, volume, or pressure, and (2) units based upon the number of atoms of the designated element, which may be present as ions or molecules either singly or in combination with other elements. In certain cases the number of chemical equivalents is acceptable.
The mass units most commonly used are those of the metric system and bear the following relations to each other:
In certain cases (for example, alkalinity and hydrogen-ion concentration) it is desirable to report the concentration in terms of chemical equivalents. The units shall then be
For expressing the partial pressure of gases dissolved in sea water the basic pressure unit is the “physical atmosphere” (p. 55):
Volume units are all based upon the true liter—that is, the volume of 1 kg of distilled water at 4°C. When volume units are used, the temperature and pressure should be stated. The quantities of dissolved gases, when expressed as milliliters (ml), should be those for 0°C and a pressure of 1 atmosphere, that is, NTP.
The centigrade scale is to be used for reporting temperatures.
The units to be used in reporting data, proposed by the International Association of Physical Oceanography, are given in table 34. It should be noted that all units are based upon the amount of a designated element that may be present either singly (for example, oxygen or calcium) or in combination with other elements (for example, phosphate-phosphorus).
Because the 20° liter is the standard volume unit for expressing the quantity of sea water, glassware should be calibrated for this temperature, and, if practicable, measurements and chemical determinations should be made at or near this temperature. If the sea-water samples are not at 20°, it may be necessary to apply certain corrections. Full descriptions of the methods for making such corrections and tables to facilitate the transformation are included in the Report of the International Association of Physical Oceanography. In most cases the accuracy of the methods of analysis for the elements present in small amounts do not justify such corrections.
As already stated, it is frequently desirable to express the relative concentrations as Cl-ratios or chlorosity factors (p. 167). These relationships may be used to calculate the quantity of the major elements present in water of known chlorinity or to check variations in composition which may be brought about by natural agencies, pollution by sewage and industrial wastes, or by other agencies.