Short Note: Natural seasonal variability of aragonite saturation state within two Antarctic coastal ocean sites

Production of aragonite shells by many marine organisms via calcification requires adequate availability of seawater carbonate ions (CO2), which is often represented by the aragonite saturation state of seawater: Ω=(Ca2+)(CO32-)/λ, where λ is the solubility coefficient of calcium carbonate in the form of aragonite. Changes in Ωarag are explicitly linked to rises and falls in oceanic partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) through alterations in equilibrium CO2 chemistry in seawater. The coastal Southern Ocean ecosystem in particular, is most vulnerable to future declining Ωarag via anthropogenic CO2, uptake (Orr et al. 2005, McNeil & Matear 2008) since pteropods (aragonite secreting zooplankton) make up a large proportion of its biomass (Accomero et al. 2003, Hunt et al. 2008). Spatio-temporal variability in surface ocean Ωarag is scarce for coastal Antarctic waters. Here, we report data on seasonal variability of Ωarag from two independent Antarctic sites (Ross Sea and Prydz Bay).

McNeil B. I., Sweeney C., & Gibson J. A. E., 2011. Short Note: Natural seasonal variability of aragonite saturation state within two Antarctic coastal ocean sites. Antarctic Science 23(4):411-412. Article (subscription required).


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