Sunburst Sensors Instruments Used to Study Arctic Carbon Cycle


Researchers have used the SuperCO2, SAMI-CO2 and SAMI-pH along with other instruments to learn more about the changing carbon cycle in the arctic.

From the linked article:

Sea surface pCO2 variability in the Arctic Ocean is intertwined with biological production, ice formation, and melting (where CO2 is concentrated or diluted, respectively), heating and other processes, all of which are no longer in steady state. Sparse long-term data have limited our ability to assess variability of sea surface pCO2 that is related to these changes.

(The authors) have been measuring pCO2 in the Canada Basin of the Arctic Ocean since 2012 to help address this shortcoming. Cruises have taken place on the Canadian icebreaker, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent as part of the Beaufort Gyre Observing System and Joint Ocean Ice Study (BGOS/JOIS) programs through Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Woods Hole, Massachusetts) and the Institute of Ocean Sciences (Sidney, British Columbia), respectively. These cruises, conducted since 2002 with support from NSF, have focused on the hydrography and biogeochemistry of the western Arctic Ocean.

For full article, click here: Arcus: The Changing Carbon Cycle of the Arctic  (this will open article in a new tab or window)



Sunburst Sensors SAMI-CO2 Helping OOI Measure Ocean Carbon

SAMI-CO2 mounted to OOI float. Picture credit: OOI


The Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) uses both SAMI-CO2 and SAMI-pH instruments at many of its observatories to help monitor the marine carbonate system. OOI recently published an article: Altered Carbon: Improvement to CO2 Measurements Enhance OOI Data Quality  (Link will open new tab/window) 

Sunburst Participates in Commuter Challenge for 10th year

Sunburst employees have been participating in Missoula in Motion's annual Commuter Challenge for 10 years.  Missoula in Motion encourages sustainable transportation, including biking, walking, busing, carpooling, and telecommuting.  Over 100 local businesses participate in the Commuter Challenge each year, with free breakfasts and coffee for participants along bike routes, daily prize drawings, and awards given to companies with the highest percentage of participants.  in 2010 and 2011 Sunburst won the challenge in the micro-business category, with 100% participation.  This year Sunburst is again on the All-Star list, with 9 of 10 employees participating.

Sunburst has a casual atmosphere where employees are encouraged to commute sustainably.  On any summer day you will typically see several bikes in the offices and open spaces at Sunburst.    Brandon Wasser is our sustainable commute star.  He rides his bike to work every day, regardless of winter snow, spring rain, or summer heat, and he volunteers at Free Cycles, helping locals fix up their bikes or build bikes from up-cycled parts for free!

Sunburst Employees Support Girls in STEM

Sunburst employees are key supporters of a Girl Scout troop and their First Lego League robotics team, the Intergalacducks.  This team of 11 – 14 year old girls built a Lego robot and programmed it to complete several “missions” in the Into Orbit Challenge.  They also researched and presented the idea of growing edible flowers in space using hydroponics as a means of improving mental and physical health of astronauts.  The team won first place in a competition between 77 teams from Montana.  This propelled them to the FLL World Festival in Houston, TX, in April 2019.  The Intergalacducks thank Sunburst for financial contributions and coaching!


SAMI-CO2 Instruments Help Our Understanding of the Role of the Arctic Ocean in Climate Variability

In September of 2018, two ice-tethered profilers (ITP) with SAMI-CO2 instruments were deployed beneath Arctic sea ice. The ITPs include a surface buoy with satellite transmitter and CTD profiler that measures physical and biogeochemical properties from the surface to 800 m depth. The SAMIs are deployed directly under the ice at ~6 m. The ITPs are analogous to the Argo float program that deploys profiling floats in the oceans (Figure 1). Cory Beatty from Mike DeGrandpre’s lab at the University of Montana was part of the 2018 expedition, deploying SAMI-CO2 instruments on two of the ITPs (ITP 107 and 110). Sunburst worked with Beatty to configure the SAMIs to transmit data in real time via an inductive modem. pCO2 measured at ITP 107 is shown in Figure 2. The complete data sets can be viewed and downloaded


Figure 1. ITP drift track as of April 24, 2019. ITP drift (yellow line), latest location (triangle), BGOS moorings (white circles), annual ice drift from IABP (grey vectors), on IBCAO bathymetry (shading). Link to track.

Figure 2. Cory Beatty of University of Montana deploying a SAMI-CO2 through the ice.


Figure 3. Data from ITP107, collected and made available by the Ice-Tethered Profiler Program (Toole et al., 2011; Krishfield et al., 2008) based at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution ( .