Chemical sensors for in situ data collection in the cryosphere

E A Bagshaw, Alexander Beaton, Jemma Wadham, Matt Mowlem, Jon Hawkings, Martyn Tranter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
353 Downloads (Pure)


Glaciers and ice sheets are recognised as important components of global biogeochemical cycles. Chemical sensors have great potential for in situ monitoring in the cryosphere and are available for many analytes of interest, but they are frequently unsuitable for deployment since meltwaters are cold, turbid, experience freeze-thaw cycles and display low ionic strength and concentrations of target analytes. Here, we review in situ chemical sensors currently available for measurement of biogeochemically important analytes and assess their suitability for deployment. These include standard parameters such as dissolved oxygen and pH, along with macronutrients (nitrate/nitrite and phosphate), micronutrients (iron and manganese) and biogenic gases (methane). Where no commercial alternatives are available, we discuss sensors currently in development, and their applicability to these extreme environments. The information presented has great relevance for future science in polar environments, and for the ultimate goal of obtaining in situ data from extreme, inaccessible subglacial environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-357
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Analytical Chemistry
Early online date21 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


  • Cryosphere
  • chemical sensors
  • glacial meltwater
  • oxygen
  • pH
  • methane
  • nitrate
  • phosphate
  • iron

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