Acidification of the Mediterranean sea from anthropogenic carbon penetration

This study presents an estimation of the anthropogenic CO2 (CANT) concentrations and acidification (ΔpH=pH2013 – pHpre-industrial) in the Mediterranean Sea, based upon hydrographic and carbonate chemistry data collected during the May 2013 MedSeA cruise. The concentrations of CANT were calculated using the composite tracer TrOCA. The CANT distribution shows that the most invaded waters (> 60 µmol kg-1) are those of the intermediate and deep layers in the Alboran, Liguro- and Algero-Provencal Sub-basins in the Western basin, and in the Adriatic Sub-basin in the Eastern basin. Whereas the areas containing the lowest CANT concentrations are the deep layers of the Eastern basin, especially those of the Ionian Sub-basin, and those of the northern Tyrrhenian Sub-basin in the Western basin. The acidification level in the Mediterranean Sea reflects the excessive increase of atmospheric CO2 and therefore the invasion of the sea by CANT. This acidification varies between −0.055 and −0.156 pH unit and it indicates that all Mediterranean Sea waters are already acidified, especially those of the Western basin where ΔpH is rarely less than −0.1 pH unit. Both CANT concentrations and acidification levels are closely linked to the presence and history of the different water masses in the intermediate and deep layers of the Mediterranean basins. Despite the high acidification levels, both Mediterranean basins are still highly supersaturated in calcium carbonate minerals.

El Rahman Hassoun A., Gemayel E., Krasakopoulou E., Goyet K., Abboud-Abi Saab M., Guglielmi V., Touratier F. & Falco C., in press. Acidification of the Mediterranean sea from anthropogenic carbon penetration. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers. Article (subscription required).

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