Seasonal variation in aragonite saturation states and the controlling factors in the southeastern Yellow Sea

Highlights

• Aragonite saturation state was determined in the southeastern Yellow Sea (Korea territory) for the first time.

• Aragonite undersaturation occurred in the bottom waters of the southeastern Yellow Sea during the fall.

• Aragonite undersaturation may be associated with ocean dumping of organic materials.

Abstract

The aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) was determined to assess its seasonal variations and the major controlling factors in the southeastern Yellow Sea (YS) over four seasons. Ωarag showed large seasonal variation in the surface waters, with dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) as a major factor controlling the seasonal variation. In the bottom waters, Ωarag exhibited only small seasonal variation compared with the surface waters; DIC and total alkalinity were the main factors contributing to the variation. The bottom water of the southeastern YS was undersaturated with aragonite during the fall, even though the southeastern YS was not typically associated with upwelling, freshwater discharge, or eutrophication processes. Aragonite undersaturation was most likely due to ocean dumping of organic materials. Therefore, ocean pumping should be prohibited in shallow marginal seas to prevent aragonite undersaturation.

Choi Y., Cho S. & Kim D., in press. Seasonal variation in aragonite saturation states and the controlling factors in the southeastern Yellow Sea. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Article (subscription required).

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