Instrument: Carbon Flux Explorer


The Carbon Flux Explorer (CFE) is designed to perform sustained high-frequency observations of POC and PIC sedimentation within the upper kilometer (or twilight zone) of the ocean for seasons to years and to operate in an observational context not dependent on ships. The CFE melds the concept of current-following, sample-collecting neutrally buoyant sediment traps with photographic imaging of the particles as they are deposited in a sediment trap.

The CFE and the operation of its particle flux sensing Optical Sedimentation Recorder (OSR) have been discussed in detail in Bishop et al. (2016). CFE has a design mission capability of 8 months of hourly operations (16 months @ 2 hours) and has been demonstrated by deployments of 40 days; CFE design depth is 1500m and it has been proven to 1000 m. The system has demonstrated operations in high sea states.


Bishop, J. K. B., Fong, M. B., and Wood, T. J.: Robotic observations of high wintertime carbon export in California coastal waters, Biogeosciences, 13, 3109–3129,, 2016.

Bourne, H. L., Bishop, J. K. B., Wood, T. J., Loew, T. J., and Liu, Y.: Carbon Flux Explorer optical assessment of C, N and P fluxes, Biogeosciences, 16, 1249–1264,, 2019