Physical and biogeochemical controls on the variability in surface pH and calcium carbonate saturation states in the Atlantic sectors of the Arctic and Southern Oceans

Tynan, Eithne, Clarke, Jennifer S., Humphreys, Matthew P., Ribas-Ribas, Mariana, Esposito, Mario, Rérolle, Victoire M.C., Schlosser, C., Thorpe, Sally E., Tyrrell, Toby and Achterberg, Eric P. (2016) Physical and biogeochemical controls on the variability in surface pH and calcium carbonate saturation states in the Atlantic sectors of the Arctic and Southern Oceans Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 127 . pp. 7-27. DOI 10.1016/j.dsr2.2016.01.001.

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Polar oceans are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification due to their low temperatures and reduced buffering capacity, and are expected to experience extensive low pH conditions and reduced carbonate mineral saturations states (Ω) in the near future. However, the impact of anthropogenic CO2 on pH and Ω will vary regionally between and across the Arctic and Southern Oceans. Here we investigate the carbonate chemistry in the Atlantic sector of two polar oceans, the Nordic Seas and Barents Sea in the Arctic Ocean, and the Scotia and Weddell Seas in the Southern Ocean, to determine the physical and biogeochemical processes that control surface pH and Ω. High-resolution observations showed large gradients in surface pH (0.10 to 0.30) and aragonite saturation state (Ωar) (0.2 to 1.0) over small spatial scales, and these were particularly strong in sea-ice covered areas (up to 0.45 in pH and 2.0 in Ωar). In the Arctic, sea-ice melt facilitated bloom initiation in light-limited and iron replete (dFe>0.2 nM) regions, such as the Fram Strait, resulting in high pH (8.45) and Ωar (3.0) along the sea-ice edge. In contrast, accumulation of dissolved inorganic carbon derived from organic carbon mineralisation under the ice resulted in low pH (8.05) and Ωar (1.1) in areas where thick ice persisted. In the Southern Ocean, sea-ice retreat resulted in bloom formation only where terrestrial inputs supplied sufficient iron (dFe>0.2 nM), such as in the vicinity of the South Sandwich Islands where enhanced pH (8.3) and Ωar (2.3) were primarily due to biological production. In contrast, in the adjacent Weddell Sea, weak biological uptake of CO2 due to low iron concentrations (dFe<0.2 nM) resulted in low pH (8.1) and Ωar (1.6). The large spatial variability in both polar oceans highlights the need for spatially resolved surface data of carbonate chemistry variables but also nutrients (including iron) in order to accurately elucidate the large gradients experienced by marine organisms and to understand their response to increased CO2 in the future.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: All data from cruises JR271 and JR274 have been deposited at the British Oceanographic Data Centre(BODC). - WOS:000376545500002
Keywords: carbonate system, ocean acidification, Arctic Ocean, Southern Ocean, biogeochemistry, RRS James Clark Ross, JR271, JR274
Research affiliation: OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-CH Chemical Oceanography
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2016.01.001
ISSN: 0967-0645
Related URLs:
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2016 11:03
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 12:46

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