Posts Tagged 'chemistry'

Simulated CO2-induced ocean acidification for ocean in the East China: historical conditions since preindustrial time and future scenarios

Since preindustrial times, as atmospheric CO2 concentration increases, the ocean continuously absorbs anthropogenic CO2, reducing seawater pH and [CO2−3], which is termed ocean acidification. We perform Earth system model simulations to assess CO2-induced acidification for ocean in the East China, one of the most vulnerable areas to ocean acidification. By year 2017, ocean surface pH in the East China drops from the preindustrial level of 8.20 to 8.06, corresponding to a 35% rise in [H+], and reduction rate of pH becomes faster in the last two decades. Changes in surface seawater acidity largely result from CO2-induced changes in surface dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), alkalinity (ALK), salinity and temperature, among which DIC plays the most important role. By year 2300, simulated reduction in sea surface [CO2−3] is 13% under RCP2.6, contrasted to 72% under RCP8.5. Furthermore, simulated results show that CO2-induced warming acts to mitigate reductions in [CO2−3], but the individual effect of oceanic CO2 uptake is much greater than the effect of CO2-induced warming on ocean acidification. Our study quantifies ocean acidification induced by anthropogenic CO2, and indicates the potentially important role of accelerated CO2 emissions in projections of future changes in biogeochemistry and ecosystem of ocean in the East China.

Continue reading ‘Simulated CO2-induced ocean acidification for ocean in the East China: historical conditions since preindustrial time and future scenarios’

Surface ocean pH and buffer capacity: past, present and future

The ocean’s chemistry is changing due to the uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2). This phenomenon, commonly referred to as “Ocean Acidification”, is endangering coral reefs and the broader marine ecosystems. In this study, we combine a recent observational seawater CO2 data product, i.e., the 6th version of the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (1991–2018, ~23 million observations), with temporal trends at individual locations of the global ocean from a robust Earth System Model to provide a high-resolution regionally varying view of global surface ocean pH and the Revelle Factor. The climatology extends from the pre-Industrial era (1750 C.E.) to the end of this century under historical atmospheric CO2 concentrations (pre-2005) and the Representative Concentrations Pathways (post-2005) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s 5th Assessment Report. By linking the modeled pH trends to the observed modern pH distribution, the climatology benefits from recent improvements in both model design and observational data coverage, and is likely to provide improved regional OA trajectories than the model output could alone, therefore, will help guide the regional OA adaptation strategies. We show that air-sea CO2 disequilibrium is the dominant mode of spatial variability for surface pH, and discuss why pH and calcium carbonate mineral saturation states, two important metrics for OA, show contrasting spatial variability.

Continue reading ‘Surface ocean pH and buffer capacity: past, present and future’

Surface seawater partial pressure of CO2 variability and air-sea CO2 fluxes in the Bering Sea in July 2010


• Air-sea CO2 fluxes of a more complete set of different Bering Sea regions than most prior studies were reported.

• Despite a small CO2 outgassing area the Bering Sea still acted as a net ocean CO2 sink of -6.4±0.9 mmol m-2 d-1 in summer.

• Large spatial variations of pCO2 and air-sea CO2 fluxes were observed corresponding to diverse controlling processes.


Prior studies of surface seawater CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) and air-sea CO2 fluxes have primarily been conducted on the eastern Bering Sea shelf area, with a paucity of data in the Bering Sea basin. In order to assess the surface variability and the air-sea CO2 fluxes for a more complete set of different regions, underway surface seawater pCO2 and related parameters were investigated across the Bering Sea basin, slope and shelf in July 2010 during the 4th Chinese National Arctic Research Expedition (CHINARE). The surface pCO2 exhibited large spatial variability and was observed to vary from 137 μatm in the central Bering Strait to 481 μatm in the western Bering Strait. In the central Bering Strait, the high supersaturation with respect to the atmospheric pCO2 (378 ± 2 μatm) was driven by the upwelling event. The neutral or weak CO2 sink in the Bering Sea basin and eastern nearshore region were related to high nutrient low chlorophyll status and riverine input, respectively. Biological process maintained the most shelf and slope areas as a strong CO2 sink. Overall, despite a small CO2 outgassing area the whole Bering Sea still acted as a net ocean CO2 sink of −6.4 ± 0.9 mmol m−2 d−1 in summer.

Continue reading ‘Surface seawater partial pressure of CO2 variability and air-sea CO2 fluxes in the Bering Sea in July 2010’

Linking internal carbonate chemistry regulation and calcification in corals growing at a Mediterranean CO2 vent

Corals exert a strong biological control over their calcification processes, but there is a lack of knowledge on their capability of long-term acclimatization to ocean acidification (OA). We used a dual geochemical proxy approach to estimate the calcifying fluid pH (pHcf) and carbonate chemistry of a Mediterranean coral (Balanophyllia europaea) naturally growing along a pH gradient (range: pHTS 8.07–7.74). The pHcf derived from skeletal boron isotopic composition (δ11B) was 0.3–0.6 units above seawater values and homogeneous along the gradient (mean ± SEM: Site 1 = 8.39 ± 0.03, Site 2 = 8.34 ± 0.03, Site 3 = 8.34 ± 0.02). Also carbonate ion concentration derived from B/Ca was homogeneous [mean ± SEM (μmol kg–1): Site 1 = 579 ± 34, Site 2 = 541 ± 27, Site 3 = 568 ± 30] regardless of seawater pH. Furthermore, gross calcification rate (GCR, mass of CaCO3 deposited on the skeletal unit area per unit of time), estimated by a “bio-inorganic model” (IpHRAC), was homogeneous with decreasing pH. The homogeneous GCR, internal pH and carbonate chemistry confirm that the features of the “building blocks” – the fundamental structural components – produced by the biomineralization process were substantially unaffected by increased acidification. Furthermore, the pH up-regulation observed in this study could potentially explain the previous hypothesis that less “building blocks” are produced with increasing acidification ultimately leading to increased skeletal porosity and to reduced net calcification rate computed by including the total volume of the pore space. In fact, assuming that the available energy at the three sites is the same, this energy at the low pH sites could be partitioned among fewer calicoblastic cells that consume more energy given the larger difference between external and internal pH compared to the control, leading to the production of less building blocks (i.e., formation of pores inside the skeleton structure, determining increased porosity). However, we cannot exclude that also dissolution may play a role in increasing porosity. Thus, the ability of scleractinian corals to maintain elevated pHcf relative to ambient seawater might not always be sufficient to counteract declines in net calcification under OA scenarios.

Continue reading ‘Linking internal carbonate chemistry regulation and calcification in corals growing at a Mediterranean CO2 vent’

Characterization of the CO2 System in a coral reef, a seagrass meadow, and a mangrove forest in the central Red Sea

The Red Sea is characterized by its high seawater temperature and salinity, and the resilience of its coastal ecosystems to global warming is of growing interest. This high salinity and temperature might also render the Red Sea a favorable ecosystem for calcification and therefore resistant to ocean acidification. However, there is a lack of survey data on the CO2 system of Red Sea coastal ecosystems. A 1‐year survey of the CO2 system was performed in a seagrass lagoon, a mangrove forest, and a coral reef in the central Red Sea, including fortnight seawater sampling and high‐frequency pHT monitoring. In the coral reef, the CO2 system mean and variability over the measurement period are within the range of other world’s reefs with pHT, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), total alkalinity (TA), pCO2, and Ωarag of 8.016±0.077, 2061±58 μmol/kg, 2415±34 μmol/kg, 461±39 μatm, and 3.9±0.4, respectively. Here, comparisons with an offshore site highlight dominance of calcification and photosynthesis in summer‐autumn, and dissolution and heterotrophy in winter‐spring. In the seagrass meadow, the pHT, DIC, TA, pCO2, and Ωarag were 8.00±0.09, 1986±68 μmol/kg, 2352±49 μmol/kg, 411±66 μatm, and 4.0±0.3, respectively. The seagrass meadow TA and DIC were consistently lower than offshore water. The mangrove forest showed the highest amplitudes of variation, with pHT, DIC, TA, pCO2, and Ωarag, were 7.95±0.26, 2069±132 μmol/kg, 2438±91 μmol/kg, 493±178 μatm, and 4.1±0.6, respectively. We highlight the need for more research on sources and sinks of DIC and TA in coastal ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Characterization of the CO2 System in a coral reef, a seagrass meadow, and a mangrove forest in the central Red Sea’

Impacts of ocean acidification on hermit crab communities through contrasting responses of Pagurus filholi (de Man, 1887) and Clibanarius virescens (Krauss, 1843)

Ocean acidification (OA) is predicted to decrease the abundance of calcified organisms such as gastropods. Since hermit crabs utilize gastropod shell as mobile shelter, OA has indirect impacts on hermit crab population. To examine the impacts of OA on hermit crab communities, which use calcified shell as the mobile shelter, we conducted field surveys and laboratory experiments using volcanic CO2 seeps in Shikine Island, Japan. By comparing hermit crab community structures and shell availability among five intertidal rocky shores with different degrees of acidification, Paguroidea abundance and species richness were simplified in acidified areas. Rearing experiments comparing survival rates of two Paguroidea species, Pagurus filholi (de Man, 1887) and Clibanarius virescens (Krauss, 1843), at both adult and larval stages, between acidified and ambient aquaria revealed that acidified seawater reduced larval survival rate of C. virescens. Overall, the results indicated that the species-specific direct effect in elevated C. virescens larval mortality could simplify the Paguroidea species composition. In addition, such direct effect would also lead to reduction of Paguroidea abundance, along with indirect effects though a decrease in shell availability.

Continue reading ‘Impacts of ocean acidification on hermit crab communities through contrasting responses of Pagurus filholi (de Man, 1887) and Clibanarius virescens (Krauss, 1843)’

Epibenthos dynamics and environmental fluctuations in two contrasting polar carbonate factories (Mosselbukta and Bjørnøy-Banken, Svalbard)

The Arctic Svalbard Archipelago hosts the world’s northernmost cold-water ‘carbonate factories’ thriving here despite of presumably unfavourable environmental conditions and extreme seasonality. Two contrasting sites of intense biogenic carbonate production, the rhodolith beds in Mosselbukta in the north of the archipelago and the barnacle-mollusc dominated carbonate sediments accumulating in the strong hydrodynamic regime of the Bjørnøy-Banken south of Spitsbergen, were the targets of the RV Maria S. Merian cruise 55 in June 2016. By integrating data from physical oceanography, marine biology, and marine geology, the present contribution characterises the environmental setting and biosedimentary dynamics of these two polar carbonate factories. Repetitive CTD profiling in concert with autonomous temperature/salinity loggers on a long-term settlement platform identified spatiotemporal patterns in the involved Atlantic and Polar water masses, whereas short-term deployments of a lander revealed fluctuations of environmental variables in the rhodolith beds in Mosselbukta and at same depth (46 m) at Bjørnøy-Banken. At both sites, dissolved inorganic nutrients in the water column were found depleted (except for elevated ammonium concentrations) and show an overall increase in concentration and N:P ratios toward deeper waters. This indicates that a recycling system was fuelling primary production after the phytoplankton spring bloom at the time of sampling in June 2016. Accordingly, oxygen levels were found elevated and carbon dioxide concentrations (pCO2) markedly reduced, on average only half the expected equilibrium values. Backed up by seawater stable carbon and oxygen isotope signatures, this is interpreted as an effect of limited air-sea gas exchange during seasonal ice cover in combination with a boost in community photosynthesis during the spring phytoplankton bloom. The observed trends are enhanced by the onset of rhodophyte photosynthesis in the rhodolith beds during the polar day upon retreat of sea-ice. Potential adverse effects of ocean acidification on the local calcifier community are thus predicted to be seasonally buffered by the marked drop in pCO2 during the phase of sea-ice cover and spring phyto-plankton bloom, but this effect will diminish should the seasonal sea-ice formation continue to decline. Among the 25 macrobenthos taxa identified from images captured by the lander’s camera system, all but three species were calcifiers contributing to the carbonate production. Biodiversity was found to be much higher in Mosselbukta (21 taxa) compared to Bjørnøy-Banken (8 taxa), which is considered as a result of enhanced habitat diversity provided in the rhodolith beds by the bioengineering crustose alga Lithothamnion glaciale. Filter-feeding activity of selected key species did reveal group-specific but no common activity patterns. Biotic disturbance of the filtering activity was common, in contrast to abiotic factors, with hermit crabs representing the primary trigger. Motion tracking of rhodoliths revealed a high frequency of dislocation, triggered not by abiotic factors but by the activity of benthic invertebrates, in particular echinoids ploughing below or moving over the rhodoliths. The echinoid Strongylocentrotus sp. is the most abundant component of the associated fauna, thereby considerably contributing both to carbonate production and to grazing bioerosion. Together, these results portray a high degree of seasonal as well as short-term dynamics in environmental conditions that despite many similarities support distinctly different communities and biodiversity patterns in the calcifying macrobenthos at the two studied polar carbonate factories.

Continue reading ‘Epibenthos dynamics and environmental fluctuations in two contrasting polar carbonate factories (Mosselbukta and Bjørnøy-Banken, Svalbard)’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book