Tidally-induced variations of pH at the head of the Laurentian Channel

The head of the Laurentian Channel (LC) is a very dynamic region of exceptional biological richness. To evaluate the impact of freshwater discharge, tidal mixing, and biological activity on the pH of surface waters in this region, a suite of physical and chemical variables was measured throughout the water column over two tidal cycles. The relative contributions to the water column of the four source-water types that converge in this region were evaluated using an optimum multi-parameter algorithm (OMP). Results of the OMP analysis were used to reconstruct the water column properties assuming conservative mixing, and the difference between the model properties and field measurements served to identify factors that control the pH of the surface waters. These surface waters are generally undersaturated with respect to aragonite, mostly due to the intrusion of waters from the Upper St. Lawrence Estuary and the Saguenay Fjord. The presence of a cold intermediate layer impedes the upwelling of the deeper, hypoxic, lower pH and aragonite-undersaturated waters of the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary to depths shallower than 50 meters.

Mucci A., Levasseur M., Gratton Y., Martias C., Scarratt M., Gilbert D., Tremblay J.-E., Ferreyra G. & Lansard B., in press. Tidally-induced variations of pH at the head of the Laurentian Channel. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Article (subscription required).

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