Multidecadal fCO2 increase along the United States southeast coastal margin

Coastal margins could be hotspots for acidification due to terrestrial-influenced CO2 sources. Currently there are no long-term (>20 years) records from biologically important coastal environments that could demonstrate sea surface CO2 fugacity (fCO2) and pH trends. Here, multi-decadal fCO2 trends are calculated from underway and moored time series observations along the United States southeast coastal margin, also referred to as the South Atlantic Bight (SAB). fCO2 trends across the SAB, derived from ∼26 years of cruises and ∼9.5 years from a moored time series, range from 3.0 to 4.5 µatm y−1, and are greater than the open ocean increases. The pH decline related to the fCO2 increases could be as much as -0.004 y−1; a rate greater than that expected from atmospheric-influenced pH alone. We provide evidence that fCO2 increases and pH decreases on an ocean margin can be faster than those predicted for the open ocean from atmospheric influence alone. We conclude that a substantial fCO2 increase across the marginal SAB is due to both increasing temperature on the middle and outer shelves, but to lateral land-ocean interactions in the coastal zone and on inner shelf.

Reimer J. J., Wang H., Vargas R. & Cai W.-J., in press. Multidecadal fCO2 increase along the United States southeast coastal margin. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. Article (subscription required).

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