Posts Tagged 'biogeochemistry'



Variation in brachiopod microstructure and isotope geochemistry under low-pH–ocean acidification conditions

In the last few decades and in the near future CO2-induced ocean acidification is potentially a big threat to marine calcite-shelled animals (e.g. brachiopods, bivalves, corals and gastropods). Despite the great number of studies focusing on the effects of acidification on shell growth, metabolism, shell dissolution and shell repair, the consequences for biomineral formation remain poorly understood. Only a few studies have addressed the impact of ocean acidification on shell microstructure and geochemistry. In this study, a detailed microstructure and stable isotope geochemistry investigation was performed on nine adult brachiopod specimens of Magellania venosa (Dixon, 1789). These were grown in the natural environment as well as in controlled culturing experiments under different pH conditions (ranging from 7.35 to 8.15±0.05) over different time intervals (214 to 335 days). Details of shell microstructural features, such as thickness of the primary layer, density and size of endopunctae and morphology of the basic structural unit of the secondary layer were analysed using scanning electron microscopy. Stable isotope compositions (δ13C and δ18O) were tested from the secondary shell layer along shell ontogenetic increments in both dorsal and ventral valves. Based on our comprehensive dataset, we observed that, under low-pH conditions, M. venosa produced a more organic-rich shell with higher density of and larger endopunctae, and smaller secondary layer fibres. Also, increasingly negative δ13C and δ18O values are recorded by the shell produced during culturing and are related to the CO2 source in the culture set-up. Both the microstructural changes and the stable isotope results are similar to observations on brachiopods from the fossil record and strongly support the value of brachiopods as robust archives of proxies for studying ocean acidification events in the geologic past.

Continue reading ‘Variation in brachiopod microstructure and isotope geochemistry under low-pH–ocean acidification conditions’

Ecosystem metabolism drives pH variability and modulates long-term ocean acidification in the Northeast Pacific coastal ocean

Ocean acidification poses serious threats to coastal ecosystem services, yet few empirical studies have investigated how local ecological processes may modulate global changes of pH from rising atmospheric CO2. We quantified patterns of pH variability as a function of atmospheric CO2 and local physical and biological processes at 83 sites over 25 years in the Salish Sea and two NE Pacific estuaries. Mean seawater pH decreased significantly at −0.009 ± 0.0005 pH yr−1 (0.22 pH over 25 years), with spatially variable rates ranging up to 10 times greater than atmospheric CO2-driven ocean acidification. Dissolved oxygen saturation (%DO) decreased by −0.24 ± 0.036% yr−1, with site-specific trends similar to pH. Mean pH shifted from 8.0 in summer concomitant to the seasonal shift from heterotrophy (%DO  100) and dramatic shifts in aragonite saturation state critical to shell-forming organisms (probability of undersaturation was >80% in winter, but <20% in summer). %DO overwhelmed the influence of atmospheric CO2, temperature and salinity on pH across scales. Collectively, these observations provide evidence that local ecosystem processes modulate ocean acidification, and support the adoption of an ecosystem perspective to ocean acidification and multiple stressors in productive aquatic habitats.

Continue reading ‘Ecosystem metabolism drives pH variability and modulates long-term ocean acidification in the Northeast Pacific coastal ocean’

Remotely forced decadal physical and biogeochemical variability of North Pacific Subtropical Mode Water over the last 40 years

Half‐century‐long observations at the 137°E repeat hydrographic section across the western North Pacific have been analyzed to demonstrate remotely forced decadal physical and biogeochemical variability of Subtropical Mode Water (STMW) over the last 40 years. During unstable periods of the Kuroshio Extension (KE) that lagged the warm phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation by 3−4 years, high regional eddy activity reduced the formation rate and salinity of STMW in its main formation region south of the KE. At the 137°E section south of Japan, decreasing southwestward advection of oxygen‐rich STMW from the formation region resulted in decreases of its cross‐sectional area, dissolved oxygen, pH, and aragonite saturation state and increases of nutrients and dissolved inorganic carbon, among which changes of the carbonate system parameters accelerated their long‐term trends. Such changes reversed and acidification slowed down during stable‐KE periods, especially in the current period since 2010 exhibiting a hiatus of acidification.

Continue reading ‘Remotely forced decadal physical and biogeochemical variability of North Pacific Subtropical Mode Water over the last 40 years’

Analysis of physical and biogeochemical control mechanisms on summertime surface carbonate system variability in the western Ross Sea (Antarctica) using in situ and satellite data

In this study, carbonate system properties were measured in the western Ross Sea (Antarctica) over the 2005–2006 and 2011–2012 austral summers with the aim of analysing their sensitivity to physical and biogeochemical drivers. Daily Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) sea ice concentration maps, obtained prior to and during the samplings, were used to analyse the sea ice evolution throughout the experiment periods. Monthly means and 8-day composite chlorophyll concentration maps from the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Aqua satellite at 4-km resolution were used to investigate inter-annual and basin scale biological variability. Chlorophyll-a concentrations in surface waters estimated by MODIS satellite data contribute to descriptions of the variability of carbonate system properties in surface waters. Mean values of carbonate system properties were comparable across both investigated years; however, the 2012 data displayed larger variability. Sea ice melting also had a pivotal role in controlling the carbonate system chemistry of the mixed layer both directly through dilution processes and indirectly by favouring the development of phytoplankton blooms. This resulted in high pH and ΩAr, and in low CT, particularly in those areas where high chlorophyll concentration was shown by satellite maps.

Continue reading ‘Analysis of physical and biogeochemical control mechanisms on summertime surface carbonate system variability in the western Ross Sea (Antarctica) using in situ and satellite data’

Sedimentary alkalinity generation and long-term alkalinity development in the Baltic Sea

Enhanced release of alkalinity from the seafloor, principally driven by anaerobic degradation of organic matter under low-oxygen conditions and associated secondary redox reactions, can increase the carbon dioxide (CO2) buffering capacity of seawater and therefore oceanic CO2 uptake. The Baltic Sea has undergone severe changes in oxygenation state and total alkalinity (TA) over the past decades. The link between these concurrent changes has not yet been investigated in detail. A recent system-wide TA budget constructed for the past 50 years using BALTSEM, a coupled physical–biogeochemical model for the whole Baltic Sea area revealed an unknown TA source. Here we use BALTSEM in combination with observational data and one-dimensional reactive-transport modeling of sedimentary processes in the Fårö Deep, a deep Baltic Sea basin, to test whether sulfate (SO2−4) reduction coupled to iron (Fe) sulfide burial can explain the missing TA source in the Baltic Proper. We calculated that this burial can account for up to 26 % of the missing source in this basin, with the remaining TA possibly originating from unknown river inputs or submarine groundwater discharge. We also show that temporal variability in the input of Fe to the sediments since the 1970s drives changes in sulfur (S) burial in the Fårö Deep, suggesting that Fe availability is the ultimate limiting factor for TA generation under anoxic conditions. The implementation of projected climate change and two nutrient load scenarios for the 21st century in BALTSEM shows that reducing nutrient loads will improve deep water oxygen conditions, but at the expense of lower surface water TA concentrations, CO2 buffering capacities and faster acidification. When these changes additionally lead to a decrease in Fe inputs to the sediment of the deep basins, anaerobic TA generation will be reduced even further, thus exacerbating acidification. This work highlights that Fe dynamics plays a key role in the release of TA from sediments where Fe sulfide formation is limited by Fe availability, as exemplified by the Baltic Sea. Moreover, it demonstrates that burial of Fe sulfides should be included in TA budgets of low-oxygen basins.

Continue reading ‘Sedimentary alkalinity generation and long-term alkalinity development in the Baltic Sea’

Benthic fluxes from hypoxia-influenced Gulf of Mexico sediments: impact on bottom water acidification

Benthic fluxes are reported from 8 sites on the shelf and slope of the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) in the region near the Mississippi River delta. Benthic landers, with the capability to incubate 3 chambers simultaneously, were deployed in August 2011 to establish the rate of phosphate, nitrate, ammonium, dissolved Si, Dissolved Inorganic Carbon (DIC) and alkalinity concentration change vs. incubation time (7–50 h) thereby providing flux estimates for these parameters. Stations located within 350 km of the Mississippi River mouth have nutrient and DIC fluxes that vary by a factor of 10 but show no longitudinal trends. Chambers deployed in low oxygen bottom water ( 1 drives GoM bottom waters to a lower calcite and aragonite saturation state. Carbon isotopes of the DIC were measured on chamber waters and the calculated δ13C of the DIC source at 4 stations was similar, between −14 to −17‰ compared to typical δ13C values of bulk organic carbon in the GoM of −22‰. At a fifth station, the DIC added was calculated to have an isotope value of −31‰. Dissolved inorganic carbon isotope compositions that are significantly heavier or lighter than particulate organic carbon are unexpected and may be explained by a combination of inputs: the oxidation of average marine organic carbon and calcium carbonate dissolution, methanogenesis, and/or from oxidation of terrestrial lignin fractions.

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Drivers of 21st century carbon cycle variability in the North Atlantic ocean

The North Atlantic carbon sink is a prominent component of global climate, storing large amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), but this basin’s CO2 uptake variability presents challenges for future climate prediction. A comprehensive mechanistic understanding of the processes that give rise to year-to-year (interannual) and decade-to-decade (decadal) variability in the North Atlantic’s dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) inventory is lacking. Here, we numerically simulate the 5 oceanic response to human-induced (anthropogenic) climate change from the industrial era to the year 2100. The model distinguishes how different physical, chemical, and biological processes modify the basin’s DIC inventory; the saturation, soft tissue, and carbonate pumps, anthropogenic emissions, and other processes causing air-sea disequilibria. There are four ‘natural’ pools (saturation, soft tissue, carbonate, and disequilibrium), and an ‘anthropogenic’ pool. Interannual variability of the North Atlantic DIC inventory arises primarily due to temperature- and alkalinity-induced changes in carbon solubility (satu10 ration concentrations). A mixture of saturation and anthropogenic drivers cause decadal variability. Multidecadal variability
results from the opposing effects of saturation versus soft tissue carbon, and anthropogenic carbon uptake. By the year 2100, the North Atlantic gains 66 Pg (1 Pg = 1015 grams) of anthropogenic carbon, and the natural carbon pools collectively decline by 4.8 Pg. The first order controls on interannual variability of the North Atlantic carbon sink size are therefore largely
physical, and the biological pump emerges as an important driver of change on multidecadal timescales. Further work should 15 identify specifically which physical processes underlie the interannual saturation-dominated DIC variability documented here.

Continue reading ‘Drivers of 21st century carbon cycle variability in the North Atlantic ocean’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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