Ocean acidification dynamics in the marginal ice zone of the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean (text & video)

OA Week 2021, Arctic Hub Session

Dr. Libby Jones, Institute of Marine Research, Norway


Seasonal cycling in carbon and nutrients, with implications for ocean acidification, was investigated in the context of changes in sea ice cover, meltwater inputs, mixing and biological processes in the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean (Nansen Basin). In August 2019, the summer ice edge was located 80N and the upper water column was generally warm and fresh. Primary production had reduced concentrations of nutrients and dissolved inorganic carbon (CT), particularly in the ice-free waters. North of the ice edge, meltwater inputs reduced total alkalinity (AT), the chemical buffering capacity of seawater, through dilution. By December, the winter ice pack extended to 78N and created more Arctic-like conditions. Mixing and remineralisation resulted in increased concentrations of nutrients and CT in the water column. The imprint of summer processes was observed with lower CT and AT in ice-covered surface waters. The central Barents Sea revealed low seasonality, where reduced AT and Arctic-like conditions characterized the water column. Atlantic Water inflow in the south and north supplied the surface layer with AT to counteract acidification effects. Future warming, loss of sea ice and Atlantification likely enhance biological carbon uptake, reduce effects of meltwater dilution and buffer against acidification in the Barents Sea. This study is a contribution to the Nansen Legacy project.

Ocean Acidification Week 2021 was sponsored by the following organizations:

(1) GOA-ON, the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network,

(2) NOAA, the United States National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration,

(3) IAEA OA-ICC, the International Atomic Energy Agency – Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre, and

(4) IOC-UNESCO – the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

For more information, please visit www.goa-on.org

GOA-ON, YouTube, 24 September 2021. Text and video.

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