Posts Tagged 'Arctic'

Warming and CO2 enhance Arctic heterotrophic microbial activity

Ocean acidification and warming are two main consequences of climate change that can directly affect biological and ecosystem processes in marine habitats. The Arctic Ocean is the region of the world experiencing climate change at the steepest rate compared with other latitudes. Since marine planktonic microorganisms play a key role in the biogeochemical cycles in the ocean it is crucial to simultaneously evaluate the effect of warming and increasing CO2 on marine microbial communities. In 20 L experimental microcosms filled with water from a high-Arctic fjord (Svalbard), we examined changes in phototrophic and heterotrophic microbial abundances and processes [bacterial production (BP) and mortality], and viral activity (lytic and lysogenic) in relation to warming and elevated CO2. The summer microbial plankton community living at 1.4°C in situ temperature, was exposed to increased CO2 concentrations (135–2,318 μatm) in three controlled temperature treatments (1, 6, and 10°C) at the UNIS installations in Longyearbyen (Svalbard), in summer 2010. Results showed that chlorophyll a concentration decreased at increasing temperatures, while BP significantly increased with pCO2 at 6 and 10°C. Lytic viral production was not affected by changes in pCO2 and temperature, while lysogeny increased significantly at increasing levels of pCO2, especially at 10°C (R2 = 0.858, p = 0.02). Moreover, protistan grazing rates showed a positive interaction between pCO2 and temperature. The averaged percentage of bacteria grazed per day was higher (19.56 ± 2.77% d-1) than the averaged percentage of lysed bacteria by virus (7.18 ± 1.50% d-1) for all treatments. Furthermore, the relationship among microbial abundances and processes showed that BP was significantly related to phototrophic pico/nanoflagellate abundance in the 1°C and the 6°C treatments, and BP triggered viral activity, mainly lysogeny at 6 and 10°C, while bacterial mortality rates was significantly related to bacterial abundances at 6°C. Consequently, our experimental results suggested that future increases in water temperature and pCO2 in Arctic waters will produce a decrease of phytoplankton biomass, enhancement of BP and changes in the carbon fluxes within the microbial food web. All these heterotrophic processes will contribute to weakening the CO2 sink capacity of the Arctic plankton community.

Continue reading ‘Warming and CO2 enhance Arctic heterotrophic microbial activity’

The internal consistency of the marine carbon dioxide system for high latitude shipboard and in situ monitoring

• Best calculations from combination of T,P-dependent and non-dependent parameters

• The dissociation constants of M73 and L yielded the best internal consistency

• Monte Carlo simulation of uncertainty propagation shows combined uncertainty to be more dependent on input parameters, less on dissociation constants

• Internal consistency study for deep ocean conditions is required

Deep convection in the Labrador Sea supplies large amounts of anthropogenic carbon to the ocean’s interior. We use measurements of all four measurable CO2 system parameters made along AR7W (across Labrador Sea) between 2013 and 2015 to assess the internal consistency of the carbonate system, including, as appropriate, conversion to in situ temperature (T) and pressure (P). The best agreement between measured and calculated values was obtained through combination of T,P-dependent (pH or pCO2) and non-dependent (TA or DIC) parameters. Use of the dissociation constants of Mehrbach et al. (1973) as refit by Dickson and Millero (1987) and Lueker et al. (2000) yielded the best internal consistency irrespective of the input parameters used. A Monte Carlo simulation demonstrated that the propagated uncertainty (i.e. combined standard uncertainty) of calculated parameters of the carbonate system is (a) always larger than the analytical precision of the measurements themselves; (b) strongly dependent on the choice of input parameters and uncertainties; (c) less dependent on choice of the specific set of constants. For calculation of other parameters of the carbonate system from TA and DIC measurements made throughout the Labrador Sea time-series, the estimated combined standard uncertainty of calculated pCO2 and pH based on the Monte Carlo simulation is ~ 13 μatm and ~ 0.012 pH units respectively, with accuracy relative to laboratory-based measurement estimated to be between −3 and − 13 μatm and 0.002 and 0.007 pH units. Internal consistency especially at in situ temperature and pressure conditions is important for rapidly developing sensor-based monitoring programs in the region, including measurement of pH and/or pCO2 from gliders, profiling floats and moorings. We highlight uncertainty associated with the large pressure effect on pH and pCO2, and recommend a study of carbonate system internal consistency under deep ocean conditions that addresses pressure effects on calculations.

Continue reading ‘The internal consistency of the marine carbon dioxide system for high latitude shipboard and in situ monitoring’

Climate in Svalbard 2100 – a knowledge base for climate adaptation

This report was commissioned by the Norwegian Environment Agency in order to provide basic information for climate change effect studies and climate change adaptation in Svalbard. It includes descriptions of historical, as well as projections for future climate development in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and ocean, and it includes effects on the physical nature, e.g. risks associated with landslides and avalanches. The projections for future climate are based on the global climate models used in the IPCCs fifth assessment report (IPCC, 2013). Dependent on availability of model data, three scenarios for emissions of greenhouse gases are used: “RCP8.5” (“business as usual”; “high emissions”), “RCP4.5” (reductions after 2040; “medium emissions”) and “RCP2.6” (drastic cuts from 2020; “low emissions”). Climate change in the atmosphere and land surface are projected up to the year 2100 and in the ocean up to the year 2070.

The report is to a large degree an assessment of existing literature and model results, e.g. the Arctic CORDEX regional climate models. In addition, a fine scale atmospheric regional climate model (COSMO-CLM) has been run, and the results were applied for estimating changes in e.g. heavy rainfall, frost days, snow, permafrost and glaciers. Further, a hydrological model has been run for Svalbard for present and projected future climate, based on input data from Arctic CORDEX. Also for the ocean, new analyses have been performed, based on the best available model data. Below follows a summary based on a combination of the assessment and results from new analyses.

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Predicting which species succeed in climate-forced polar seas

Understanding the mechanisms which determine the capacity of any species to adapt to changing environmental conditions is one of the foremost requirements in accurately predicting which populations, species and clades are likely to survive ongoing, rapid climate change. The polar oceans are amongst the most rapidly changing environments on Earth with reduced regional sea ice duration and extent, and their fauna’s expected sensitivity to warming and acidification. These changes potentially pose a significant threat to a number of polar fauna. There is, therefore, a critical need to assess the vulnerability of a wide range of species to determine the tipping points or weak links in marine assemblages. Knowledge of the effect of multiple stressors on polar marine fauna has advanced over the last 40 years, but there are still many data gaps. This study applies ecological risk assessment techniques to the increasing knowledge of polar species’ physiological capacities to identify their exposure to climate change and their vulnerability to this exposure. This relatively rapid, semi-quantitative assessment provides a layer of vulnerability on top of climate envelope models, until such times as more extensive physiological data sets can be produced. The risk assessment identified more species that are likely to benefit from the near-future predicted change (the winners), especially predators and deposit feeders. Fewer species were scored at risk (the losers), although animals that feed on krill scored consistently as under the highest risk.

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Northern cod species face spawning habitat losses if global warming exceeds 1.5°C

Rapid climate change in the Northeast Atlantic and Arctic poses a threat to some of the world’s largest fish populations. Impacts of warming and acidification may become accessible through mechanism-based risk assessments and projections of future habitat suitability. We show that ocean acidification causes a narrowing of embryonic thermal ranges, which identifies the suitability of spawning habitats as a critical life-history bottleneck for two abundant cod species. Embryonic tolerance ranges linked to climate simulations reveal that ever-increasing CO2 emissions [Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5] will deteriorate suitability of present spawning habitat for both Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and Polar cod (Boreogadus saida) by 2100. Moderate warming (RCP4.5) may avert dangerous climate impacts on Atlantic cod but still leaves few spawning areas for the more vulnerable Polar cod, which also loses the benefits of an ice-covered ocean. Emissions following RCP2.6, however, support largely unchanged habitat suitability for both species, suggesting that risks are minimized if warming is held “below 2°C, if not 1.5°C,” as pledged by the Paris Agreement.

Continue reading ‘Northern cod species face spawning habitat losses if global warming exceeds 1.5°C’

Aerobic capacities and swimming performance of polar cod (Boreogadus saida) under ocean acidification and warming conditions

Polar cod (Boreogadus saida) is an important prey species in the Arctic ecosystem, yet its habitat is changing rapidly: climate change, through rising seawater temperatures and CO2 concentrations, is projected to be most pronounced in Arctic waters. This study aimed to investigate the influence of ocean acidification and warming on maximum performance parameters of B. saida as indicators for the species’ acclimation capacities under environmental conditions projected for the end of this century. After 4 months at four acclimation temperatures (0, 3, 6, 8°C) each combined with two PCO2 levels (390 and 1170 µatm), aerobic capacities and swimming performance of B. saida were recorded following a Ucrit protocol. At both CO2 levels, standard metabolic rate (SMR) was elevated at the highest acclimation temperature indicating thermal limitations. Maximum metabolic rate (MMR) increased continuously with temperature, suggesting an optimum temperature for aerobic scope for exercise (ASex) at 6°C. Aerobic swimming performance (Ugait) increased with acclimation temperature irrespective of CO2 levels, while critical swimming speed (Ucrit) did not reveal any clear trend with temperature. Hypercapnia evoked an increase in MMR (and thereby ASex). However, swimming performance (both Ugait and Ucrit) was impaired under elevated near-future PCO2 conditions, indicating reduced efficiencies of oxygen turnover. The contribution of anaerobic metabolism to swimming performance was very low overall, and further reduced under hypercapnia. Our results revealed high sensitivities of maximum performance parameters (MMR, Ugait, Ucrit) of B. saida to ocean acidification. Impaired swimming capacity under ocean acidification may reflect reduced future competitive strength of B. saida.

Continue reading ‘Aerobic capacities and swimming performance of polar cod (Boreogadus saida) under ocean acidification and warming conditions’

Using natural analogues to investigate the effects of climate change and ocean acidification on Northern ecosystems

Northern oceans are in a state of rapid transition. Still, our knowledge of the likely effects of climate change and ocean acidification on key species in the food web, functionally important habitats and the structure of Arctic and sub-Arctic ecosystems is limited and based mainly on short-term laboratory studies on single species. This review discusses how tropical and temperate natural analogues of carbonate chemistry drivers, such as CO2 vents, have been used to further our knowledge of the sensitivity of biological systems to predicted climate change, and thus assess the capacity of different species to show long-term acclimation and adaptation to elevated levels of pCO2. Natural analogues have also provided the means to scale-up from single-species responses to community and ecosystem level responses. However, to date the application of such approaches is limited in high latitude systems. A range of Arctic and sub-Arctic sites, including CO2 vents, methane cold seeps, estuaries, up-welling areas, and polar fronts, that encompass gradients of pH, carbonate saturation state, and alkalinity, are suggested for future high latitude, in-situ ocean acidification research. It is recommended that combinations of monitoring of the chemical oceanography, observational, and experimental (in situ and laboratory) studies of organisms around these natural analogues be used to attain better predictions of the impacts of ocean acidification and climate change on high latitude species and ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Using natural analogues to investigate the effects of climate change and ocean acidification on Northern ecosystems’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book