Posts Tagged 'Arctic'

Arctic Ocean acidification over the 21st century co-driven by anthropogenic carbon increases and freshening in the CMIP6 model ensemble (update)

The uptake of anthropogenic carbon (Cant) by the ocean leads to ocean acidification, causing the reduction of pH and the saturation states of aragonite (Ωarag) and calcite (Ωcalc). The Arctic Ocean is particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification due to its naturally low pH and saturation states and due to ongoing freshening and the concurrent reduction in total alkalinity in this region. Here, we analyse ocean acidification in the Arctic Ocean over the 21st century across 14 Earth system models (ESMs) from the latest Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6). Compared to the previous model generation (CMIP5), models generally better simulate maximum sea surface densities in the Arctic Ocean and consequently the transport of Cant into the Arctic Ocean interior, with simulated historical increases in Cant in improved agreement with observational products. Moreover, in CMIP6 the inter-model uncertainty of projected changes over the 21st century in Arctic Ocean Ωarag and Ωcalc averaged over the upper 1000 m is reduced by 44–64 %. The strong reduction in projection uncertainties of Ωarag and Ωcalc can be attributed to compensation between Cant uptake and total alkalinity reduction in the latest models. Specifically, ESMs with a large increase in Arctic Ocean Cant over the 21st century tend to simulate a relatively weak concurrent freshening and alkalinity reduction, while ESMs with a small increase in Cant simulate a relatively strong freshening and concurrent total alkalinity reduction. Although both mechanisms contribute to Arctic Ocean acidification over the 21st century, the increase in Cant remains the dominant driver. Even under the low-emissions Shared Socioeconomic Pathway 1-2.6 (SSP1-2.6), basin-wide averaged Ωarag undersaturation in the upper 1000 m occurs before the end of the century. While under the high-emissions pathway SSP5-8.5, the Arctic Ocean mesopelagic is projected to even become undersaturated with respect to calcite. An emergent constraint identified in CMIP5 which relates present-day maximum sea surface densities in the Arctic Ocean to the projected end-of-century Arctic Ocean Cant inventory is found to generally hold in CMIP6. However, a coincident constraint on Arctic declines in Ωarag and Ωcalc is not apparent in the new generation of models. This is due to both the reduction in Ωarag and Ωcalc projection uncertainty and the weaker direct relationship between projected changes in Arctic Ocean Cant and changes in Ωarag and Ωcalc.

Continue reading ‘Arctic Ocean acidification over the 21st century co-driven by anthropogenic carbon increases and freshening in the CMIP6 model ensemble (update)’

Biological impact of ocean acidification in the Canadian Arctic: widespread severe pteropod shell dissolution in Amundsen Gulf

Increasing atmospheric CO2, cold water temperatures, respiration, and freshwater inputs all contribute to enhanced acidification in Arctic waters. However, ecosystem effects of ocean acidification (derived from anthropogenic and/or natural sources) in the Arctic Ocean are highly uncertain. Zooplankton samples and oceanographic data were collected in August 2012–2014 and again in August 2017 to investigate the pelagic sea snail, Limacina helicina, a biological indicator of the presence and potential impact of acidified waters in the Canadian Beaufort Sea. Between 2012 and 2014 L. helicina abundance ranged from <1 to 1942 Ind. m–2, with highest abundances occurring at stations on the Canadian Beaufort Shelf in 2012. The majority of individuals (66%) were located between 25 and 100 m depth, corresponding to upper halocline water of Pacific origin. In both 2014 and 2017, >85% of L. helicina assessed (n = 134) from the Amundsen Gulf region displayed shell dissolution and advanced levels of dissolution occurred at all stations. The severity of dissolution was not significantly different between 2014 and 2017 despite the presence of larger individuals that are less prone to dissolution, and higher food availability that can provide some physiological benefits in 2014. Corrosive water conditions were not widespread in the Amundsen Gulf at the time of sampling in 2017, and aragonite undersaturation (Ωar < 1) occurred primarily at depths >150 m. The majority of dissolution was observed on the first whorl of the shells strongly indicating that damage was initiated during the larval stage of growth in May or early June when sea ice is still present. Evidence of shell modification was present in 2014, likely supported by abundant food availability in 2014 relative to 2017. The proportion of damaged L. helicina collected from coastal embayments and offshore stations is higher than in other Arctic and temperate locations indicating that exposure to corrosive waters is spatially widespread in the Amundsen Gulf region, and periods of exposure are extreme enough to impact the majority of the population.

Continue reading ‘Biological impact of ocean acidification in the Canadian Arctic: widespread severe pteropod shell dissolution in Amundsen Gulf’

The northern European shelf as an increasing net sink for CO2 (update)

We developed a simple method to refine existing open-ocean maps and extend them towards different coastal seas. Using a multi-linear regression we produced monthly maps of surface ocean fCO2 in the northern European coastal seas (the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Norwegian Coast and the Barents Sea) covering a time period from 1998 to 2016. A comparison with gridded Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) v5 data revealed mean biases and standard deviations of 0 ± 26 µatm in the North Sea, 0 ± 16 µatm along the Norwegian Coast, 0 ± 19 µatm in the Barents Sea and 2 ± 42 µatm in the Baltic Sea. We used these maps to investigate trends in fCO2, pH and air–sea CO2 flux. The surface ocean fCO2 trends are smaller than the atmospheric trend in most of the studied regions. The only exception to this is the western part of the North Sea, where sea surface fCO2 increases by 2 µatm yr−1, which is similar to the atmospheric trend. The Baltic Sea does not show a significant trend. Here, the variability was much larger than the expected trends. Consistently, the pH trends were smaller than expected for an increase in fCO2 in pace with the rise of atmospheric CO2 levels. The calculated air–sea CO2 fluxes revealed that most regions were net sinks for CO2. Only the southern North Sea and the Baltic Sea emitted CO2 to the atmosphere. Especially in the northern regions the sink strength increased during the studied period.

Continue reading ‘The northern European shelf as an increasing net sink for CO2 (update)’

Status and trends of Arctic Ocean environmental change and its impacts on marine biogeochemistry: findings from the ArCS project

Ocean observation research theme under ArCS project, “Theme 4: Observational research on Arctic Ocean environmental changes”, aimed to elucidate the status and trends of ongoing Arctic Ocean environmental changes and to evaluate their impacts on Arctic marine ecosystem and the global climate system. For these purposes, we conducted field observations, mooring observations, laboratory experiments, numerical modeling, and international collaborative research focusing on the Pacific Arctic Region (PAR) and from Pan-Arctic point of views. As a result, we have published several scientific studies on environmental changes and their impact on the climate and ecosystem. In this manuscript, we compiled these results with some concluding remarks. We found physical environmental changes of water cycle, sea-ice and ocean conditions, heat transport, and ocean mixing in the Arctic Ocean and surrounding areas. We also examined chemical properties, carbon, cycle, and ocean acidification in the Arctic Ocean. In addition, new findings regarding impacts of sea-ice reduction to primary productivities were published. For public outreach of Arctic research, we were able to develop an educational tool (a board game named “The Arctic”) in collaboration with Themes 6 and 7.

Continue reading ‘Status and trends of Arctic Ocean environmental change and its impacts on marine biogeochemistry: findings from the ArCS project’

Sea‐ice microbial communities in the Central Arctic Ocean: limited responses to short‐term pCO2 perturbations

The Arctic Ocean is more susceptible to ocean acidification than other marine environments due to its weaker buffering capacity, while its cold surface water with relatively low salinity promotes atmospheric CO2 uptake. We studied how sea‐ice microbial communities in the central Arctic Ocean may be affected by changes in the carbonate system expected as a consequence of ocean acidification. In a series of four experiments during late summer 2018 aboard the icebreaker Oden, we addressed microbial growth, production of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), photosynthetic activity, and bacterial assemblage structure as sea‐ice microbial communities were exposed to elevated partial pressures of CO2 (pCO2). We incubated intact, bottom ice‐core sections and dislodged, under‐ice algal aggregates (dominated by Melosira arctica) in separate experiments under approximately 400, 650, 1000, and 2000 μatm pCO2 for 10 d under different nutrient regimes. The results indicate that the growth of sea‐ice algae and bacteria was unaffected by these higher pCO2 levels, and concentrations of DOC and EPS were unaffected by a shifted inorganic C/N balance, resulting from the CO2 enrichment. These central Arctic sea‐ice microbial communities thus appear to be largely insensitive to short‐term pCO2 perturbations. Given the natural, seasonally driven fluctuations in the carbonate system of sea ice, its resident microorganisms may be sufficiently tolerant of large variations in pCO2 and thus less vulnerable than pelagic communities to the impacts of ocean acidification, increasing the ecological importance of sea‐ice microorganisms even as the loss of Arctic sea ice continues.

Continue reading ‘Sea‐ice microbial communities in the Central Arctic Ocean: limited responses to short‐term pCO2 perturbations’

Arctic Ocean acidification over the 21st century co-driven by anthropogenic carbon increases and freshening in the CMIP6 model ensemble

The uptake of anthropogenic carbon (Cant) by the ocean leads to ocean acidification, causing the reduction of pH and the calcium carbonate saturation states of aragonite (Ωarag) and calcite (Ωcalc). The Arctic Ocean is particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification due to its naturally low pH and saturation states and due to ongoing freshening and the concurrent reduction in alkalinity in this region. Here, we analyse ocean acidification in the Arctic Ocean over the 21st century across 14 Earth System Models (ESMs) from the latest Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6). Compared to the previous model generation (CMIP5), the inter-model uncertainty of projected end-of-century Arctic Ocean Ωarag/calc is reduced by 44–64 %. The strong reduction in projection uncertainties of Ωarag/calc can be attributed to compensation between Cant uptake and alkalinity reduction in the latest models. Specifically, ESMs with a large increase in Arctic Ocean Cant over the 21st century tend to simulate a relatively weak concurrent freshening and alkalinity reduction, while ESMs with a small increase in Cant simulate a relatively strong freshening and concurrent alkalinity reduction. Although both mechanisms contribute to Arctic Ocean acidification over the 21st century, the increase in Cant remains the dominant driver. Even under the low-emissions shared socioeconomic pathway SSP1-2.6, basin-wide averaged arag undersaturation occurs before the end of the century. While under the high-emissions pathway SSP5-8.5, the Arctic Ocean mesopelagic is projected to even become undersaturated with respect to calcite. An emergent constraint, identified in CMIP5, which relates present-day maximum sea surface densities in the Arctic Ocean to the projected end-of-century Arctic Ocean Cant inventory, is found to generally hold in CMIP6. However, a coincident constraint on Arctic declines in Ωarag/calc is not apparent in the new generation of models. This is due to both the reduction in Ωarag/calc projection uncertainty and the weaker direct relationship between projected changes in Arctic Ocean Cant and arag/calc. In CMIP6, models generally better simulate maximum sea surface densities in the Arctic Ocean and consequently the transport of Cant into the Arctic Ocean interior, with simulated historical increases in Cant in improved agreement with observational products.

Continue reading ‘Arctic Ocean acidification over the 21st century co-driven by anthropogenic carbon increases and freshening in the CMIP6 model ensemble’

Influence of glacial water and carbonate minerals on wintertime sea-ice biogeochemistry and the CO2 system in an Arctic fjord in Svalbard

The effect of freshwater sources on wintertime sea-ice CO2 processes was studied from the glacier front to the outer Tempelfjorden, Svalbard, in sea ice, glacier ice, brine and snow. March–April 2012 was mild, and the fjord was mainly covered with drift ice, in contrast to the observed thicker fast ice in the colder April 2013. This resulted in different physical and chemical properties of the sea ice and under-ice water. Data from stable oxygen isotopic ratios and salinity showed that the sea ice at the glacier front in April 2012 contained on average 54% of frozen-in glacial meltwater. This was five times higher than in April 2013, where the ice was frozen seawater. In April 2012, the largest excess of sea-ice total alkalinity (AT), carbonate ion ([CO32−]) and bicarbonate ion concentrations ([HCO3−]) relative to salinity was mainly related to dissolved dolomite and calcite incorporated during freezing of mineral-enriched glacial water. In April 2013, the excess of these variables was mainly due to ikaite dissolution as a result of sea-ice processes. Dolomite dissolution increased sea-ice AT twice as much as ikaite and calcite dissolution, implying different buffering capacity and potential for ocean CO2 uptake in a changing climate.

Continue reading ‘Influence of glacial water and carbonate minerals on wintertime sea-ice biogeochemistry and the CO2 system in an Arctic fjord in Svalbard’

Ocean acidification modifies biomolecule composition in organic matter through complex interactions

The main source of marine organic carbon (OC) is autotrophic production, while heterotrophic degradation is its main sink. Increased anthropogenic CO2 release leads to ocean acidification and is expected to alter phytoplankton community composition, primary production rates and bacterial degradation processes in the coming decades with potential consequences for dissolved and particulate OC concentration and composition. Here we investigate effects of increased pCO2 on dissolved and particulate amino acids (AA) and carbohydrates (CHO), in arctic and sub-arctic planktonic communities in two large-scale mesocosm experiments. Dissolved AA concentrations responded to pCO2/pH changes during early bloom phases but did not show many changes after nutrient addition. A clear positive correlation in particulate AA was detected in post-bloom phases. Direct responses in CHO concentrations to changing pCO2/pH were lacking, suggesting that observed changes were rather indirect and dependent on the phytoplankton community composition. The relative composition of AA and CHO did not change as a direct consequence of pCO2 increase. Changes between bloom phases were associated with the prevailing nutrient status. Our results suggest that biomolecule composition will change under future ocean conditions but responses are highly complex, and seem to be dependent on many factors including bloom phase and sampling site.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification modifies biomolecule composition in organic matter through complex interactions’

Glacial drivers of marine biogeochemistry indicate a future shift to more corrosive conditions in an Arctic fjord

A detailed survey of a high Arctic glacier fjord (Kongsfjorden, Svalbard) was carried out in summer 2016, close to the peak of the meltwater season, in order to identify the effects of glacier runoff on nutrient distributions and the carbonate system. Short‐term weather patterns were found to exert a strong influence on freshwater content within the fjord. Freshwater inputs from glacier runoff and ice meltwater averaged (±SD) low nitrate (1.85±0.47 μM; 0.41±0.99 μM), orthophosphate (0.07±0.27 μM; 0.02 ±0.03 μM), dissolved organic carbon (27 ±14 μM in glacier runoff), total alkalinity (708±251 μmol kg‐1; 173±121 μmol kg‐1) and dissolved inorganic carbon (622±108 μmol kg‐1; 41±88 μmol kg‐1), as well as a modest silicate concentration (3.71±0.02 μM; 3.16±5.41 μM). pCO2 showed a non‐conservative behavior across the estuarine salinity gradient with a pronounced under‐saturation in the inner‐fjord, leading to strong CO2 uptake from the atmosphere. The combined effect of freshwater dilution and atmospheric CO2 absorption was the lowering of aragonite saturation state, to values that are known to negatively affect marine calcifiers (ΩAr, 1.07). Glacier discharge was therefore a strong local amplifier of ocean acidification. Future increases in discharge volume and the loss of marine productivity following the retreat of marine‐terminating glaciers inland are both anticipated to further lower ΩAr within inner‐fjord surface waters. This shift may be partially buffered by an increase in the mean freshwater total alkalinity as the fractional importance of iceberg melt to freshwater fjord inputs declines and runoff increases.

Continue reading ‘Glacial drivers of marine biogeochemistry indicate a future shift to more corrosive conditions in an Arctic fjord’

Changing carbon-to-nitrogen ratios of organic-matter export under ocean acidification

Ocean acidification (OA) will affect marine biotas from the organism to the ecosystem level. Yet, the consequences for the biological carbon pump and thereby the oceanic sink for atmospheric CO2 are still unclear. Here we show that OA considerably alters the C/N ratio of organic-matter export (C/Nexport), a key factor determining efficiency of the biological pump. By synthesizing sediment-trap data from in situ mesocosm studies in different marine biomes, we find distinct but highly variable impacts of OA on C/Nexport, reaching up to a 20% increase/decrease under partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) conditions projected for 2100. These changes are driven by pCO2 effects on a variety of plankton taxa and corresponding shifts in food-web structure. Notably, our findings suggest a pivotal role of heterotrophic processes in controlling the response of C/Nexport to OA, thus contradicting the paradigm of primary producers as the principal driver of biogeochemical responses to ocean change.

Continue reading ‘Changing carbon-to-nitrogen ratios of organic-matter export under ocean acidification’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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