Acceleration of ocean warming, salinification, deoxygenation and acidification in the surface subtropical North Atlantic Ocean

Ocean chemical and physical conditions are changing. Here we show decadal variability and recent acceleration of surface warming, salinification, deoxygenation, carbon dioxide (CO2) and acidification in the subtropical North Atlantic Ocean (Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study site; 1980s to present). Surface temperatures and salinity exhibited interdecadal variability, increased by ~0.85 °C (with recent warming of 1.2 °C) and 0.12, respectively, while dissolved oxygen levels decreased by ~8% (~2% per decade). Concurrently, seawater DIC, fCO2 (fugacity of CO2) and anthropogenic CO2 increased by ~8%, 22%, and 72% respectively. The winter versus summer fCO2 difference increased by 4 to 8 µatm decade−1 due to seasonally divergent thermal and alkalinity changes. Ocean pH declined by 0.07 (~17% increase in acidity) and other acidification indicators by ~10%. Over the past nearly forty years, the highest increase in ocean CO2 and ocean acidification occurred during decades of weakest atmospheric CO2 growth and vice versa.

Bates N. R. & Johnson R. J., 2020. Acceleration of ocean warming, salinification, deoxygenation and acidification in the surface subtropical North Atlantic Ocean. Communications Earth & Environment 1: 33. doi:  10.1038/s43247-020-00030-5. Article.

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