Posts Tagged 'chemistry'

In situ response of Antarctic under-ice primary producers to experimentally altered pH

Elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations are contributing to ocean acidification (reduced seawater pH and carbonate concentrations), with potentially major ramifications for marine ecosystems and their functioning. Using a novel in situ experiment we examined impacts of reduced seawater pH on Antarctic sea ice-associated microalgal communities, key primary producers and contributors to food webs. pH levels projected for the following decades-to-end of century (7.86, 7.75, 7.61), and ambient levels (7.99), were maintained for 15 d in under-ice incubation chambers. Light, temperature and dissolved oxygen within the chambers were logged to track diurnal variation, with pH, O2, salinity and nutrients assessed daily. Uptake of CO2 occurred in all treatments, with pH levels significantly elevated in the two extreme treatments. At the lowest pH, despite the utilisation of CO2 by the productive microalgae, pH did not return to ambient levels and carbonate saturation states remained low; a potential concern for organisms utilising this under-ice habitat. However, microalgal community biomass and composition were not significantly affected and only modest productivity increases were noted, suggesting subtle or slightly positive effects on under-ice algae. This in situ information enables assessment of the influence of future ocean acidification on under-ice community characteristics in a key coastal Antarctic habitat.

Continue reading ‘In situ response of Antarctic under-ice primary producers to experimentally altered pH’

Chesapeake Bay inorganic carbon: spatial distribution and seasonal variability

Few estuaries have inorganic carbon datasets with sufficient spatial and temporal coverage for identifying acidification baselines, seasonal cycles and trends. The Chesapeake Bay, though one of the most well-studied estuarine systems in the world, is no exception. To date, there have only been observational studies of inorganic carbon distribution and flux in lower bay sub-estuaries. Here, we address this knowledge gap with results from the first complete observational study of inorganic carbon along the main stem. Dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and total alkalinity (TA) increased from surface to bottom and north to south over the course of 2016, mainly driven by seasonal changes in river discharge, mixing, and biological carbon dioxide (CO2) removal at the surface and release in the subsurface. Upper, mid- and lower bay DIC and TA ranged from 1000–1300, 1300–1800, and 1700–1900 μmol kg-1, respectively. The pH range was large, with maximum values of 8.5 at the surface and minimums as low as 7.1 in bottom water in the upper and mid-bay. Seasonally, the upper bay was the most variable for DIC and TA, but pH was more variable in the mid-bay. Our results reveal that low pH is a continuing concern, despite reductions in nutrient inputs. There was active internal recycling of DIC and TA, with a large inorganic carbon removal in the upper bay and at salinities < 5 most months, and a large addition in the mid-salinities. In spring and summer, waters with salinities between 10 and 15 were a large source of DIC, likely due to remineralization of organic matter and dissolution of CaCO3. We estimate that the estuarine export flux of DIC and TA in 2016 was 40.3 ± 8.2 × 109 mol yr-1 and 47.1 ± 8.6 × 109 mol yr-1. The estuary was likely a large sink of DIC, and possibly a weak source of TA. These results support the argument that the Chesapeake Bay may be an exception to the long-standing assumption that estuaries are heterotrophic. Furthermore, they underline the importance of large estuarine systems for mitigating acidification in coastal ecosystems, since riverine chemistry is substantially modified within the estuary.

Continue reading ‘Chesapeake Bay inorganic carbon: spatial distribution and seasonal variability’

Impacts of urban carbon dioxide emissions on sea-air flux and ocean acidification in nearshore waters

Greatly enhanced atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels relative to well-mixed marine air are observed during periods of offshore winds at coastal sensor platforms in Monterey Bay, California, USA. The highest concentrations originate from urban and agricultural areas, are driven by diurnal winds, and peak in the early morning. These enhanced atmospheric levels can be detected across a ~100km wide nearshore area and represent a significant addition to total oceanic CO2 uptake. A global estimate puts the added sea-air flux of CO2 from these greatly enhanced atmospheric CO2 levels at 25 million tonnes, roughly 1% of the ocean’s annual CO2 uptake. The increased uptake over the 100 km coastal swath is of order 20%, indicating a potentially large impact on ocean acidification in productive coastal waters.

Continue reading ‘Impacts of urban carbon dioxide emissions on sea-air flux and ocean acidification in nearshore waters’

Seasonal carbonate chemistry dynamics on southeast Florida coral reefs: localized acidification hotspots from navigational inlets

Seawater carbonate chemistry varies across temporal and spatial scales. Shallow-water environments can exhibit especially dynamic fluctuations as biological and physical processes operate on a smaller water volume relative to open ocean environments. Water was collected on a bi-monthly basis from seven sites off of southeast Florida (Miami-Dade and Broward counties), including four reefs, and three closely-associated inlets. Significant seasonal fluctuations in carbonate chemistry were observed on reef sites, with elevated pCO2 in the warmer wet season. Inlets demonstrated a more dynamic range, with periodic pulses of acidified water contributing to, on average, more advanced acidification conditions than those found at nearby reefs. Within inlet environments, there was a significant negative correlation between seawater salinity and both total alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), which was in contrast to the patterns observed on reefs. Elevated TA and DIC in low salinity waters likely reflect carbonate dissolution as a result of organic matter decomposition. Together, these data highlight the important role that inlets play on shallow-water carbonate chemistry dynamics within southeast Florida waters and underscore the degree to which engineered freshwater systems can contribute to coastal acidification on localized scales.

Continue reading ‘Seasonal carbonate chemistry dynamics on southeast Florida coral reefs: localized acidification hotspots from navigational inlets’

Geochemistry of hot-springs at the SuSu Knolls Hydrothermal Field, Eastern Manus Basin: advanced argillic alteration and vent fluid acidity

SuSu Knolls is an area of ongoing magmatic activity and recent volcanism located in the back-arc spreading environment of the Manus Basin in the Bismarck Sea, Papua New Guinea. In 2006, hydrothermal fluids were collected from three areas of submarine hot-spring venting and analyzed for the chemical and isotopic composition of major and trace species. Fluids were characterized by temperatures that varied from 226 to 325 °C, and formed grey to black smoke as they mixed with bottom seawater. The compositions of seawater derived vent fluids are regulated by the relative contributions of fluid-rock and fluid-sediment interaction, phase separation, and the addition of volatiles from magmatic degassing. In addition to phase separation, leaching of Cl from felsic rocks that compose the lithosphere in back-arc environments may produce measured Cl concentrations in excess of seawater values.

The measured pH25°C of SuSu Knolls smoker fluids varied from 1.5 to 3.7, a range that includes values substantially more acidic than typically observed in fluids at mid-ocean ridge spreading centers. Late stage addition of magmatic volatiles in the shallow seafloor is directly responsible for the most acidic fluids (pH25°C values below 2). In contrast, the acidity of vent fluids characterized by pH25°C values between 2 and 3 is not the direct result of the direct addition of magmatically-derived acidic species. Instead, the pH of these fluids likely reflects reaction with rocks that were previously altered by highly acidic magmatic fluids to an advanced argillic alteration assemblage containing quartz-illite-pyrophyllite-anhydrite±alunite in hydrothermal upflow zones. Fluids that do not react with advanced argillic alteration assemblages during upflow have measured pH25°Cvalues between 3 and 4.

Continue reading ‘Geochemistry of hot-springs at the SuSu Knolls Hydrothermal Field, Eastern Manus Basin: advanced argillic alteration and vent fluid acidity’

The carbonate system of the Eastern-most Mediterranean Sea, Levantine Sub-basin: variations and drivers

The carbonate system is a vital buffering system that controls the pH of seawater and maintains a healthy environment for marine organisms. As concerns regarding the fate of anthropogenic CO2 in the oceans are rising, it is becoming increasingly urgent to systematically quantify and understand this system’s parameters, particularly in heavily human-impacted areas, such as the Mediterranean Sea. To date, the paucity of time-series stations adopted to monitor the carbonate system in this sea has precluded characterizing the region at an adequate spatial resolution. Here, we present and study the seasonal and annual variability and drivers of the first carbonate system dataset collected for the Lebanese waters, monthly at the upper 80 m between 2012 and 2017 in two time-series stations offshore the North of Lebanon-Levantine Sub-basin, Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Annual trends were calculated for the non-adjusted and the adjusted carbonate system parameters (an adjustment that reduces the influence of simple-dilution-concentration [SDC] processes on the trends). Our results show high carbonate system inventory [total alkalinity (AT), total dissolved inorganic carbon (CT), and pH] compared to other Mediterranean areas. The obtained trends reflect increasing rates for both AT and CT, only significant at surface for CT(+5 ± 2 μmol kg−1.yr−1; p < 0.05). Whereas annual acidification rates were always significant (i.e. from −0.009 ± 0.004 to −0.0021 ± 0.001 pH units.yr−1at 0 m and in the upper 80 m respectively for pHT25adj). Concomitantly, decreasing trends of the saturation states for both CaCO3 minerals were calculated (−0.1 ± 0.04 and −0.07 ± 0.02 yr−1 for calcite and aragonite respectively at surface; p < 0.05). Moreover, our results showed that SDC processes, together with CO2 release/invasion and the active overturning circulation, are controlling this system in the Lebanese seawater, Eastern-most Mediterranean Sea. Contrariwise, the increasing trend of total alkalinity, mainly attributed to SDC processes (i.e. riverine inputs, weathering during extreme events, precipitations), may be buffering the observed acidification rate, which could have been worst in case AT in our area was lower.

Continue reading ‘The carbonate system of the Eastern-most Mediterranean Sea, Levantine Sub-basin: variations and drivers’

Ocean carbonate system variability in the North Atlantic Subpolar surface water (1993–2017)

The North Atlantic is one of the major sinks for anthropogenic CO2. In this study, we investigate the evolution of CO2 uptake and ocean acidification in the North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre (50° N–64° N) using repeated observations collected over the last three decades in the framework of the long-term monitoring program SURATLANT (SURveillance de l’ATLANTique). Data obtained between 1993 and 1997 suggest an important reduction in the capacity of the ocean to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere during summer, due to a rapid increase in the fugacity of CO2 (fCO2) in surface waters (5 times faster than the increase in the atmosphere). This was associated with a rapid decrease in surface pH (of the order of −0.014/yr) and was mainly driven by a significant warming and increase in DIC. Similar trends are observed between 2001 and 2007 during both summer and winter with a mean decrease of pH between −0.006/yr and −0.013/yr. These rapid trends are mainly explained by a significant warming of surface waters, a decrease in alkalinity during summer and an increase in DIC during winter. On the contrary, data obtained during the last decade (2008–2017) show a stagnation of surface fCO2 (increasing the ocean sink for CO2) and pH. These recent trends are explained by the cooling of surface waters, a small decrease of total alkalinity and the near-stagnation of dissolved inorganic carbon. Overall our results show that the uptake of CO2 and ocean acidification in the North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre is substantially impacted by multi-decadal variability, in addition to the accumulation of anthropogenic CO2. As a consequence, the future evolution of air-sea CO2 fluxes, pH and the saturation state of surface waters with regards to aragonite and calcite remain highly uncertain in this region.

Continue reading ‘Ocean carbonate system variability in the North Atlantic Subpolar surface water (1993–2017)’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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