Abstract

A method for the determination of seawater salinity by ultraviolet (UV) spectroscopy is proposed. The effects of single salt concentrations and of salinity on UV absorption in the 190-250-nm range were investigated. These studies revealed that the absorption spectrum of a solution with a given salinity is due mainly, in order, to KBr > MgCl2> NaCl. The influence of the temperature and salt con 2 centration on UV spectra was studied by using synthetic seawater samples with the salinities ranging from 1 to 50 parts per thousand (o/oo ). Results showed that, in the absence of interferences, the most sensitive and reliable conditions for measuring the salinity are at 212 nm and at temperatures in the range of 25-30 C. Under these conditions this method shows quite linear calibration curves and allows us to perform salinity determinations in seawater solutions at concentrations as low as 4 o/oo. Moreover, it requires no sample pretreatment and offers a precision of 0.20 o/oo. The proposed method is very simple and rapid for laboratory and on-board analysis. Finally, the interference of organic matter, nitrite, and nitrate species with the salinity determinations was investigated. These studies show that organic matter does not interfere at concentrations of carbon lower than 1 mg/L and at 210 nm. Interferences due to NO-xspecies can be ignored if these species are dissolved in solution at concentrations lower than 0.2 mg/L and the analyses are carried out at wavelengths lower than 212 nm.

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