Posts Tagged 'globalmodeling'

Time‐of‐detection as a metric for prioritizing between climate observation quality, frequency, and duration

We advance a simple framework based on “time‐of‐detection” for estimating the observational needs of studies assessing climate changes amidst natural variability, and apply it to several examples related to ocean acidification. This approach aims to connect the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network “weather” and “climate” data quality thresholds with a single dynamic threshold appropriate for a range of potential ocean signals and environments. A key implication of the framework is that measurement frequency can be as important as measurement accuracy, particularly in highly variable environments. Pragmatic cost‐benefit analyses based on this framework can be performed to quantitatively determine which observing strategy will accomplish a given detection goal soonest and resolve a signal with the greatest confidence, and to assess how the tradeoffs between measurement frequency and accuracy vary regionally.

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Insights from GO-SHIP hydrography data into the thermodynamic consistency of CO2 system measurements in seawater

• The thermodynamic consistency of CO2 system measurements was investigated.

• Errors in CO2 measurements are unlikely to be the main cause of inconsistencies.

• There are likely systematic errors in K1, K2, and the total boron-salinity ratio.

• An unaccounted source of alkalinity may be present in the open ocean.

Due to advances in technology, routine seawater pH measurements of excellent repeatability are becoming increasingly common for studying the ocean CO2 system. However, the accuracy of pH measurements has come into question due to a widespread observation, from a large number of carefully calibrated state-of-the-art CO2 measurements on various cruises, of there being a significant pH-dependent discrepancy between pH that was measured spectrophotometrically and pH calculated from concurrent measurements of total dissolved inorganic carbon (CT) and total alkalinity (AT), using a thermodynamic model of seawater

acid-base systems. From an analysis of four recent GO-SHIP repeat hydrography datasets, we show that a combination of small systematic errors in the dissociation constants of carbonic acid (K1 and K2), the total boron-salinity ratio, and in CT and AT measurements are likely responsible for some, but not all of the observed pH-dependent discrepancy. The residual discrepancy can only be fully accounted for if there exists a small, but meaningful amount (~4 μmol kg–1) of an unidentified and typically neglected contribution to measured AT, likely from organic bases, that is widespread in the open ocean. A combination of these errors could achieve consistency between measured and calculated pH, without requiring that any of the shipboard measurements be significantly in error. Future research should focus on establishing the existence of organic alkalinity in the open ocean and constraining the uncertainty in both CO2 measurements and in the constants used in CO2 calculations.

Continue reading ‘Insights from GO-SHIP hydrography data into the thermodynamic consistency of CO2 system measurements in seawater’

The oceanic sink for anthropogenic CO2 from 1994 to 2007

We quantify the oceanic sink for anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) over the period 1994 to 2007 by using observations from the global repeat hydrography program and contrasting them to observations from the 1990s. Using a linear regression–based method, we find a global increase in the anthropogenic CO2 inventory of 34 ± 4 petagrams of carbon (Pg C) between 1994 and 2007. This is equivalent to an average uptake rate of 2.6 ± 0.3 Pg C year−1 and represents 31 ± 4% of the global anthropogenic CO2 emissions over this period. Although this global ocean sink estimate is consistent with the expectation of the ocean uptake having increased in proportion to the rise in atmospheric CO2, substantial regional differences in storage rate are found, likely owing to climate variability–driven changes in ocean circulation.

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Meeting climate targets by direct CO2 injections: what price would the ocean have to pay?

We investigate the climate mitigation potential and collateral effects of direct injections of captured CO2 into the deep ocean as a possible means to close the gap between an intermediate CO2 emissions scenario and a specific temperature target, such as the 1.5 °C target aimed for by the Paris Agreement. For that purpose, a suite of approaches for controlling the amount of direct CO2 injections at 3000 m water depth are implemented in an Earth System Model of intermediate complexity.

Following the representative concentration pathway RCP4.5, which is a medium mitigation CO2 emissions scenario, cumula-tive CO2 injections required to meet the 1.5 °C climate goal are found to be 390 Gt C by the year 2100 and 1562 Gt C at the end of simulations, by the year 3020. The latter includes a cumulative leakage of 602 Gt C that needs to be re-injected in order to sustain the targeted global mean temperature.

CaCO3 sediment and weathering feedbacks reduce the required CO2 injections that comply with the 1.5 °C target by about 13 % in 2100 and by about 11 % at the end of the simulation.

With respect to the injection-related impacts we find that average pH values in the surface ocean are increased by about 0.13 to 0.18 units, when compared to the control run. In the model, this results in significant increases in potential coral reef habi-tats, i.e., the volume of the global upper ocean (0 to 130 m depth) with omega aragonite > 3.4 and ocean temperatures be-tween 21 °C and 28 °C, compared to the control run. The potential benefits in the upper ocean come at the expense of strongly acidified water masses at depth, with maximum pH reductions of about −2.37 units, relative to preindustrial, in the vicinity of the injection sites. Overall, this study demonstrates that massive amounts of CO2 would need to be injected into the deep ocean in order to reach and maintain the 1.5 °C climate target in a medium mitigation scenario on a millennium timescale, and that there is a trade-off between injection-related reductions in atmospheric CO2 levels accompanied by reduced upper-ocean acidification and adverse effects on deep ocean chemistry, particularly near the injection sites.

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Saxitoxin and tetrodotoxin bioavailability increases in future oceans

Increasing atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are largely absorbed by the world’s oceans, decreasing surface water pH. In combination with increasing ocean temperatures, these changes have been identified as a major sustainability threat to future marine life. Interactions between marine organisms are known to depend on biomolecules, but the influence of oceanic pH on their bioavailability and functionality remains unexplored. Here we show that global change significantly impacts two ecological keystone molecules in the ocean, the paralytic toxins saxitoxin (STX) and tetrodotoxin (TTX). Increasing temperatures and declining pH increase the abundance of the toxic forms of these two neurotoxins in the water. Our geospatial global model highlights where this increased toxicity could intensify the devastating impact of harmful algal blooms on ecosystems in the future, for example through an increased incidence of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). We also use these results to calculate future saxitoxin toxicity levels in Alaskan clams, Saxidomus gigantea, showing critical exceedance of limits save for consumption. Our findings for TTX and STX exemplarily highlight potential consequences of changing pH and temperature on chemicals dissolved in the sea. This reveals major implications not only for ecotoxicology, but also for chemical signals mediating species interactions such as foraging, reproduction, or predation in the ocean with unexplored consequences for ecosystem stability and ecosystem services.

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Carbonate dissolution enhanced by ocean stagnation and respiration at the onset of the Paleocene‐Eocene Thermal Maximum

The Paleocene‐Eocene Thermal Maximum was a transient, carbon‐induced global warming event, considered the closest analog to ongoing climate change. Impacts of a decrease in deepwater formation during the onset of the Paleocene‐Eocene Thermal Maximum suggested by proxy data on the carbon cycle are not yet fully understood. Using an Earth System Model, we find that changes in overturning circulation are key to reproduce the deoxygenation and carbonate dissolution record. Weakening of the Southern Ocean deepwater formation and enhancement of ocean stratification driven by warming cause an asymmetry in carbonate dissolution between the Atlantic and Pacific basins suggested by proxy data. Reduced ventilation results in accumulation of remineralization products (CO2 and nutrients) in intermediate waters, thereby lowering O2 and increasing CO2. As a result, carbonate dissolution is triggered throughout the water column, while the ocean surface remains supersaturated. Our findings contribute to understanding of the long‐term response of the carbon cycle to climate change.

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The role of calcification in carbonate compensation

The long-term recovery of the oceans from present and past acidification is possible due to neutralization by the dissolution of biogenic CaCO3 in bottom sediments, that is, carbonate compensation. However, such chemical compensation is unable to account for all features of past acidification events, such as the enhanced accumulation of CaCO3 at deeper depths after acidification. This overdeepening of CaCO3 accumulation led to the idea that an increased supply of alkalinity to the oceans, via amplified weathering of continental rocks, must accompany chemical compensation. Here we discuss an alternative: that changes to calcification, a biological process dependent on environmental conditions, can enhance and modify chemical compensation and account for overdeepening. Using a simplified ocean box model with both constant and variable calcification, we show that even modest drops in calcification can lead to appreciable long-term alkalinity build-up in the oceans and, thus, create overdeepening; we term this latter effect biological compensation. The chemical and biological manifestations of compensation differ in terms of controls, timing and effects, which we illustrate with model results. To better predict oceanic evolution during the Anthropocene and improve the interpretation of the palaeoceanographic record, it is necessary to better understand biological compensation.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book