Ocean acidification in the coastal ocean

The oceans play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle and store about one third of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions since 1800. When CO2 dissolves in seawater, it generates a decrease in pH and in the concentration of carbonate (CO32-) ions. Since pre-industrial time, surface ocean pH has declined by 0.1 unit and, according to model projections, a further decrease of 0.2-0.4 unit is anticipated for the end of the century. In the coastal ocean, the few available datasets suggest more complicated pH trends than in the open ocean due to various biogeochemical and hydrological processes. Although the coastal ocean only represents a small portion of the oceanic surface area, it exhibits high biological activities and an important biodiversity that may be affected in the coming decades in response to the ongoing and projected modifi cations of the carbonate chemistry. In this brief article, we present some information on the potential effect of ocean acidifi cation on key coastal organisms and communities, and provide a list of international and national projects looking at coastal ecosystems.

Gazeau F., Martin S., Hansson L., & Gattuso J.-P., 2011. Ocean acidifi cation in the coastal ocean. LOICZ INPRINT 3:5-14. Article.

 


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