Apparent Oxygen Utilization (AOU) is the difference between the observed oxygen content and the saturation oxygen content of a sample of sea water.
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This is a method of estimating the amount of dissolved oxygen utilized by marine organisms via respiration, although it is termed ”apparent” for a reason. Surface waters may more than likely carry more than the saturation amount of oxygen due to the nonlinearity in the solubility of oxygen with temperature. The effects of this nonlinearity are small, though, and the AOU is usually quite close to TOU, the True Oxygen Utilization.
- Physical Oceanography Index
- W. S. Broecker and T.-H. Peng. Tracers in the Sea. Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, Palisades, N.Y., 1982.