Technical note: interpreting pH changes

The number and quality of ocean pH measurements has increased substantially over the past few decades such that trends, variability, and spatial patterns of change are now being evaluated. However, comparing pH changes across domains with different initial pH values can be misleading because a pH change reflects a relative change in the hydrogen ion concentration ([H+]–expressed in mol kg−1) rather than an absolute change in [H+]. We recommend that [H+] be used in addition to pH when describing such changes and provide three examples illustrating why.

Fassbender A. J., Orr J. C. & Dickson A. G., 2020. Technical note: interpreting pH changes. Biogeosciences Discussions. Article.


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