Spatial variability of summertime aragonite saturation states and its influencing factor in the Bering Sea

The Bering sea is susceptible to ocean acidification driven by both human activities (anthropogenic CO2) and distinctive natural processes. To assess the situation of ocean acidification, we investigated the spatial variability of aragonite saturation states (ΩAr) in July 2010 during the 4th Chinese National Arctic Research Expedition (CHINARE). The surface waters were all oversaturated with respect to aragonite (ΩAr > 1) due to high biological removal, and ΩAr ranged from 1.43 to 3.17. The relatively low ΩAr values were found in the western Bering Strait and eastern nearshore region of the Bering Sea Shelf, which were associated with the upwelling and riverine input, respectively. In the subsurface, the ΩAr decreased to generally low saturation states and were observed to be strongly undersaturated (ΩAr < 1) in the bottom waters with a lowest value of 0.45, which might be caused by remineralization. However, unlike prior studies, the low ΩAr values in the shallow nearshore region were still above the saturation horizon throughout the water column, which were probably counteracted by high local primary production. In the context of climate change and increasing anthropogenic CO2 absorption, the suppression and undersaturation of ΩAr in the Bering Sea are not only attributed to the natural processes but also the accumulation of anthropogenic CO2.

Heng S., Zhong-Yong G., De-Rong Z., Xiu-Wu S. & Li-Qi C., in press. Spatial variability of summertime aragonite saturation states and its influencing factor in the Bering Sea. Advances in Climate Change Research. Article.

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