Continuous monitoring and future projection of ocean warming, acidification, and deoxygenation on the subarctic coast of Hokkaido, Japan

As the ocean absorbs excessive anthropogenic CO2 and ocean acidification proceeds, it is thought to be harder for marine calcifying organisms, such as shellfish, to form their skeletons and shells made of calcium carbonate. Recent studies have suggested that various marine organisms, both calcifiers and non-calcifiers, will be affected adversely by ocean warming and deoxygenation. However, regardless of their effects on calcifiers, the spatiotemporal variability of parameters affecting ocean acidification and deoxygenation has not been elucidated in the subarctic coasts of Japan. This study conducted the first continuous monitoring and future projection of physical and biogeochemical parameters of the subarctic coast of Hokkaido, Japan. Our results show that the seasonal change in biogeochemical parameters, with higher pH and dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration in winter than in summer, was primarily regulated by water temperature. The daily fluctuations, which were higher in the daytime than at night, were mainly affected by daytime photosynthesis by primary producers and respiration by marine organisms at night. Our projected results suggest that, without ambitious commitment to reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, such as by following the Paris Agreement, the impact of ocean warming and acidification on calcifiers along subarctic coasts will become serious, exceeding the critical level of high temperature for 3 months in summer and being close to the critical level of low saturation state of calcium carbonate for 2 months in mid-winter, respectively, by the end of this century. The impact of deoxygenation might often be prominent assuming that the daily fluctuation in DO concentration in the future is similar to that at present. The results also suggest the importance of adaptation strategies by local coastal industries, especially fisheries, such as modifying aquaculture styles.

Fujii M., Takao S., Yamaka T., Akamatsu T., Fujita Y., Wakita M., Yamamoto A. & Ono T., 2021. Continuous monitoring and future projection of ocean warming, acidification, and deoxygenation on the subarctic coast of Hokkaido, Japan. Frontiers in Marine Science 8: 590020. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.590020. Article.

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