The recent state and variability of the carbonate system of the Canadian Arctic in the context of ocean acidification

Ocean acidification driven by the uptake of anthropogenic CO2 by the surface oceans constitutes a potential threat to the health of marine ecosystems around the globe. The Arctic Ocean is particularly vulnerable to acidification due to its relatively low buffering capacity and, thus, is an ideal region to study the progression and effects of acidification before they become globally widespread. The appearance of undersaturated surface waters with respect to the carbonate mineral aragonite (ΩA < 1), an important threshold beyond which the calcification and growth of some marine organisms might be hindered, has recently been documented in the Canada Basin and adjacent Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Nonetheless, few of these observations were made in the last five years and the spatial coverage in the latter region is poor. Additionally, the strong variability inherent to this dynamic shelf environment renders the temporal imprint of ocean acidification on carbonate system parameters (pH, pCO2, DIC, Ω) virtually indistinguishable on decadal timescales. We use a dataset of carbonate system parameters measured in Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) and its adjacent basins to describe the recent state of these parameters across the Canadian Arctic and investigate the amplitude and sources of the system's variability. Our findings reveal that, in addition to the surface of the Canada Basin, the entire water column of the Queen Maud Gulf was undersaturated with respect to aragonite in 2015 and 2016. We also estimate that approximately a third of the interannual variability in surface DIC in the CAA results from fluctuations in biological activity.

Beaupré-Laperrière A., Mucci A. & Thomas H., 2020. The recent state and variability of the carbonate system of the Canadian Arctic in the context of ocean acidification. Biogeosciences Discussions. Article.

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