- Apparent oxygen utilisation
freshwateror marine systems apparent oxygen utilisation (AOU) is the difference between the measured dissolved oxygenconcentration and its equilibrium saturation concentration in water with the same physical and chemical properties [Garcia, H.E., Locarnini, R.A., Boyer, T.P. and Antonov, J.I. (2006). [ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/WOA05/DOC/woa05_oxygen_final.pdf World Ocean Atlas 2005 Volume 3: Dissolved Oxygen, Apparent Oxygen Utilization, and Oxygen Saturation.] S. Levitus, Ed. NOAA Atlas NESDIS 63, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 342 pp.] . Such differences typically occur when biological activity acts to change the ambient concentration of oxygen. For example, primary productionliberates oxygen and increases its concentration, while respiration consumes it and decreases its concentration.
Consequently, the AOU of a water sample represents the sum of the biological activity that the sample has experienced since it was last in equilibrium with the
atmosphere. In shallow water systems (e.g. lakes), the full water columnis generally in close contact with the atmosphere, so oxygen concentrations are typically close to saturation. In deep water systems (e.g. oceans), water can be out of contact with the atmosphere for extremely long periods of time (years, decades, centuries) and large AOU values are possible.
World Ocean Atlas
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