Effects of ocean acidification, warming and melting of sea ice on aragonite saturation of the Canada Basin surface water

In 2008, surface waters in the Canada Basin of the Arctic Ocean were found to be undersaturated with respect to aragonite. This is associated with recent extensive melting of sea ice in this region, as well as elevated sea surface temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentrations. We have estimated the relative contribution of each of these controlling factors to the calcium carbonate saturation state (Ω) from observations of dissolved inorganic carbon, total alkalinity and oxygen isotope ratio. Results indicate that the increase in atmospheric CO2 has lowered surface Ω by ∼0.3 in the Canada Basin since the preindustrial period. Recent melting of sea ice has further lowered mean Ω by 0.4, and of this, half was due to dilution of surface water and half was due to the change in air-sea disequilibrium state. Surface water warming has generally counteracted the mean decrease in Ω by 0.1.

Yamamoto-Kawai M., McLaughlin F. A., & Carmack E. C., 2011. Effects of ocean acidification, warming and melting of sea ice on aragonite saturation of the Canada Basin surface water. Geophysical Research Letters 38:L03601. Article (subscription required).

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