Posts Tagged 'methods'

Chapter 7 – Ocean alkalinity enhancement

7.1 Overview

Current concern about the accelerated rate of carbon dioxide (CO2) diffusion from the atmosphere into the surface ocean has prompted the marine scientific community to explore ocean CO2 removal (CDR) approaches. Land-based CDR methods such as afforestation or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage have received much attention recently. However, meeting climate mitigation targets with land-based CDR alone will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, because the ocean governs the atmospheric CO2 concentration and acts as the natural thermostat of Earth, simply because the ocean contains more than 50 times as much carbon as the atmosphere (Sarmiento and Gruber, 2002). One proposed ocean-based CDR technique is ocean alkalinity1 enhancement (OAE) (Figure 7.1), also termed enhanced weathering (EW), proposed by Kheshgi (1995). This approach is broadly inspired by Earth’s modulation of alkalinity on geological timescales. Adding alkalinity via natural or enhanced weathering is counteracted by the precipitation of carbonate, which reduces alkalinity and, in today’s ocean, is driven almost entirely by calcifying organisms. For example, on geologic timescales, the dissolution of alkaline silicate minerals plays a major role in restoring ocean chemistry via addition of alkalinity to the ocean and conversion of CO2 into other dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) species (Archer et al., 2009). To date, most attention has been paid to terrestrial EW applications (Köhler et al., 2010; Schuiling and Tickell, 2010; Hartmann et al., 2013), with potential co-benefits in addition to CDR including stabilization of soil pH, addition of micronutrients, and crop fertilization (e.g., Manning, 2010). When applied to the ocean, EW of minerals is achieved by adding large amounts of pulverized silicate or carbonate rock or their dissolution products, which adds alkalinity to the surface ocean and thereby “locks” CO2 into other forms of DIC, which is expected to promote atmospheric CO2 influx into the ocean. Specifically, following alkalinity addition, CO2 is converted into bicarbonate ions (HCO3−) and carbonate ions (CO32−), and these chemical changes lead to a rise in pH (Kheshgi, 1995; Gore et al., 2019). Therefore, this approach has the potential to not only remove atmospheric CO2 but also counteract ocean acidification and thus contribute to the restoration of ecosystems threatened by it.

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Temperature coefficient of seawater pH as a function of temperature, pH, DIC and salinity

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion activity in solution, which is a function of temperature. Under normal seawater conditions, it is well constrained. Nowadays, with an increasing interest in complex environments (e.g., sea ice), a better understanding of the temperature change on pH under extreme conditions is needed. The objective of this paper was to investigate the temperature coefficient of the seawater pH (∆pH/∆T) over a wide range of temperature, pH, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and salinity by a method of continuous pH measurement with the temperature change and to verify the application of CO2SYS for pH conversion under extreme conditions (on the NBS scale and the total proton scale). Both experimental results and CO2SYS calculations showed that ∆pH/∆T was slightly affected by temperature over the range of 0 to 40°C and by pH (at 25°C) from 7.8 to 8.5. However, when pH was out of this range, ∆pH/∆T varied greatly with pH value. According to the experimental results, changes in DIC from 1 mmol/kg to 5 mmol/kg and salinity from 20 to 105 had no significant effect on ∆pH/∆T. CO2SYS calculations showed a slight increase in ∆pH/∆T with DIC on both the NBS scale and the total proton scale; and underestimated ∆pH/∆T at high salinity (i.e., beyond the oceanographic range) on the NBS scale. Nevertheless, CO2SYS is still suitable for pH conversion even under extreme conditions by simply setting the input values of DIC and salinity in CO2SYS within the oceanographic range (e.g., DIC=2 mmol/kg and S=35).

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Changes of physical and mechanical properties of coral reef limestone under CO2–seawater–rock interaction

Large amounts of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere are taken up when the ocean alters the seawater carbonate system, which could have a significant impact on carbonate-rich sediments. Coral reef limestone is a special biogenic carbonate, which is mainly composed of calcium carbonate. When carbonate-rich rocks are brought into contact with a CO2 weak acid solution, they will be dissolved, which may affect the physical and mechanical properties of the rock. In this paper, the physical and chemical interactions between CO2, seawater and the framework structure reef limestone were studied based on an experiment conducted in a hydrothermal reactor. The solution was analyzed for dissolved Ca2+ concentration during the reaction, and the rock mass, effective volume (except for the volume of open pores), permeability, images from electron microscopy and X-ray microtomography were contrasted before and after immersion. The uniaxial compressive and tensile strength tests were conducted, respectively, to clarify the mechanical response of the rock after the reaction. The results indicate that dissolution occurred during the reaction, and the calcium ions of the solution were increased. The physical properties of the rock were changed, and the permeability significantly increased. Because the rocks were soaked for only 15 days, the total cumulative amount of calcium carbonate dissolved was less, and the mechanical properties were not affected.

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Characterization factors for ocean acidification impacts on marine biodiversity

Rising greenhouse gas emissions do not only accelerate climate change but also make the ocean more acidic. This applies above all to carbon dioxide (CO2). Lower ocean pH levels threaten marine ecosystems and especially strongly calcifying species. Impacts on marine ecosystem quality are currently underrepresented in life cycle assessments (LCAs). Here, we developed characterization factors for the life cycle impact assessment of ocean acidification. Our main contribution was developing new species sensitivity distributions (SSDs), from which we derived effect factors for different impact perspectives: Marginal, linear, and average changes for both the past and four future emission scenarios (RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6.0, and RCP8.5). Based on a dataset that covered five taxa (corals, crustaceans, echinoderms, fishes, molluscs) and three climate zones, we showed significantly higher sensitivities for strongly calcifying than slightly calcifying taxa and in polar regions compared to tropical and temperate regions. Experimental duration, leading to acute, subchronic, or chronic toxicological endpoints, did not significantly affect the species sensitivities. With ocean acidification impacts still accelerating, the future-oriented average effects are higher than the marginal or past-oriented average effects. While our characterization factors are ready for use in LCA, we also point to opportunities for improvement in future developments.

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Accurate spectrophotometric pH measurements made directly in the sample bottle using an aggregated dye perturbation approach

Spectrophotometric pH measurements of seawater (pHspec) are routinely made by the oceanographic community for a wide variety of studies. However, obtaining consistent measurements between laboratories that meet stringent thresholds such as the “weather” (± 0.02) and “climate” (± 0.003) standards, has been a challenge. One of the main sources of error for pHspec measurements is gas exchange of carbon dioxide during sample handling. Here, we present a simple method where pHspec measurements on the total scale are made directly in the sampling bottle, which minimizes sample handling errors because the solution is not transferred during analysis. We compared the performance of this method to a standard automated benchtop system on a hydrography cruise, and the two methods were consistent to 0.003 ± 0.0033 (1σ). This demonstrates that this simple method can produce pHspec that approaches climate quality, and comfortably meets weather quality standards. Additional benefits include high sample throughput, and the ability to rapidly quantify dye perturbation effects for each sample. The latter should be particularly useful for low salinity samples such as those taken from estuaries, insofar as modifications specific to the pHspec measurements of estuarine waters are employed.

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Two comparative studies of computer simulations and experiments as learning tools in school and out-of-school education

Interactive computer simulations and hands-on experiments are important teaching methods in modern science education. Especially for the communication of complex current topics with social relevance (socioscientific issues), suitable methods in science education are of great importance. However, previous studies could not sufficiently clarify the educational advantages and disadvantages of both methods and often lack adequate comparability. This paper presents two studies of direct comparisons of hands-on experiments and interactive computer simulations as learning tools in science education for secondary school students in two different learning locations (Study I: school; Study II: student laboratory). Using a simple experimental research design with type of learning location as between-subjects factor (NStudy I = 443, NStudy II = 367), these studies compare working on computer simulations versus experiments in terms of knowledge achievement, development of situational interest and cognitive load. Independent of the learning location, the results showed higher learning success for students working on computer simulations than while working on experiments, despite higher cognitive load. However, working on experiments promoted situational interest more than computer simulations (especially the epistemic and value-related component). We stated that simulations might be particularly suitable for teaching complex topics. The findings reviewed in this paper moreover imply that working with one method may complement and supplement the weaknesses of the other. We conclude that that the most effective way to communicate complex current research topics might be a combination of both methods. These conclusions derive a contribution to successful modern science education in school and out-of-school learning contexts.

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Artificial intelligence as a tool to study the 3D skeletal architecture in newly settled coral recruits: insights into the effects of ocean acidification on coral biomineralization

Understanding the formation of the coral skeleton has been a common subject uniting various marine and materials study fields. Two main regions dominate coral skeleton growth: Rapid Accretion Deposits (RADs) and Thickening Deposits (TDs). These have been extensively characterized at the 2D level, but their 3D characteristics are still poorly described. Here, we present an innovative approach to combine synchrotron phase contrast-enhanced microCT (PCE-CT) with artificial intelligence (AI) to explore the 3D architecture of RADs and TDs within the coral skeleton. As a reference study system, we used recruits of the stony coral Stylophora pistillata from the Red Sea, grown under both natural and simulated ocean acidification conditions. We thus studied the recruit’s skeleton under both regular and morphologically-altered acidic conditions. By imaging the corals with PCE-CT, we revealed the interwoven morphologies of RADs and TDs. Deep-learning neural networks were invoked to explore AI segmentation of these regions, to overcome limitations of common segmentation techniques. This analysis yielded highly-detailed 3D information about the RAD’s and TD’s architecture. Our results demonstrate how AI can be used as a powerful tool to obtain 3D data essential for studying coral biomineralization and for exploring the effects of environmental change on coral growth.

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Using macroalgae to address UN Sustainable Development goals through CO2 remediation and improvement of the aquaculture environment

Among efforts to explore ways to achieve carbon neutrality globally or regionally, photosynthetic carbon sequestration by algae has been identified as having immense potential. Algae play a crucial role in providing the base of aquatic ecosystems, driving important biogeochemical cycles in oceans and freshwaters and, in so doing, act as a critical component for CO2 drawdown from the atmosphere and ameliorating global change. Furthermore, algae are used extensively in some societies as a source of food and have potential as feedstock for biofuels and as sources of bioactive chemicals. Such activities align strongly with a number of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Here we discuss how marine macroalgae might contribute to several of these goals by exploring their potential to enhance aquaculture, contribute to “Blue Carbon” drawdown of CO2 to ameliorate climate change (UN SDGs 13,14) and provide biomass as feedstock for biofuels (UN SDG 7) to reduce reliance on fossil fuel combustion. Though further work is required, we suggest that farming macroalgae in air has great potential for mitigation of CO2 emissions and improvement of aquaculture environments.

Summary: Photosynthetic activity of macroalgae, in addition to driving biosynthesis and biomass accumulation, can cause arise in pH due to CO2 depletion/HCO3. This can buffer the pH decrease associated with anthropogenic CO2 increases and ameliorate the effects of ocean acidification. Though increasing in magnitude, macroalgal aquaculture still represents only asmall fraction of the Cdrawdown by wild macroalgae populations and currently accounts for drawdown of an even lower fraction of global CO2 emissions. Nonetheless, scaling up of intensive macroalgal aquaculture could be one approach to contribute more to ameliorating anthropogenic CO2 emissions and ocean acidification. Modification of IMTA involving growth of the algae in air rather than in seawater could prove auseful means to help stabilize fluctuations in oxygen and pH in aquaculture operations.

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Isotopic filtering reveals high sensitivity of planktic calcifiers to Paleocene–Eocene thermal maximum warming and acidification


Human-induced carbon emissions are causing global temperatures to rise and oceans to acidify. To understand how these rapid perturbations affect marine calcifying communities, we investigate a similar event in Earth’s geologic past, the Paleocene–Eocene thermal maximum (PETM). We introduce a method, isotopic filtering, to mitigate the time-averaging effects of sediment mixing on deep-sea microfossil records. Contrary to previous studies, we find that tropical planktic foraminifers in the central Pacific ocean were adversely affected by PETM conditions, as evidenced by a decrease in local diversity, extratropical migration, and impaired calcification. While these species survived the PETM through migration to cooler waters, it is unclear whether marine calcifiers can withstand the rapid changes our oceans are experiencing today.


Ocean warming and acidification driven by anthropogenic carbon emissions pose an existential threat to marine calcifying communities. A similar perturbation to global carbon cycling and ocean chemistry occurred ∼56 Ma during the Paleocene–Eocene thermal maximum (PETM), but microfossil records of the marine biotic response are distorted by sediment mixing. Here, we use the carbon isotope excursion marking the PETM to distinguish planktic foraminifer shells calcified during the PETM from those calcified prior to the event and then isotopically filter anachronous specimens from the PETM microfossil assemblages. We find that nearly one-half of foraminifer shells in a deep-sea PETM record from the central Pacific (Ocean Drilling Program Site 865) are reworked contaminants. Contrary to previous interpretations, corrected assemblages reveal a transient but significant decrease in tropical planktic foraminifer diversity at this open-ocean site during the PETM. The decrease in local diversity was caused by extirpation of shallow- and deep-dwelling taxa as they underwent extratropical migrations in response to heat stress, with one prominent lineage showing signs of impaired calcification possibly due to ocean acidification. An absence of subbotinids in the corrected assemblages suggests that ocean deoxygenation may have rendered thermocline depths uninhabitable for some deeper-dwelling taxa. Latitudinal range shifts provided a rapid-response survival mechanism for tropical planktic foraminifers during the PETM, but the rapidity of ocean warming and acidification projected for the coming centuries will likely strain the adaptability of these resilient calcifiers.

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Machine learning identifies ecological selectivity patterns across the end-Permian mass extinction

The end-Permian mass extinction occurred alongside a large swath of environmental changes that are often invoked as extinction mechanisms, even when a direct link is lacking. One way to elucidate the cause(s) of a mass extinction is to investigate extinction selectivity, as it can reveal critical information on organismic traits as key determinants of extinction and survival. Here we show that machine learning algorithms, specifically gradient boosted decision trees, can be used to identify determinants of extinction as well as to predict extinction risk. To understand which factors led to the end-Permian mass extinction during an extreme global warming event, we quantified the ecological selectivity of marine extinctions in the well-studied South China region. We find that extinction selectivity varies between different groups of organisms and that a synergy of multiple environmental stressors best explains the overall end-Permian extinction selectivity pattern. Extinction risk was greater for genera that had a low species richness, narrow bathymetric ranges limited to deep-water habitats, a stationary mode of life, a siliceous skeleton, or, less critically, calcitic skeletons. These selective losses directly link the extinctions to the environmental effects of rapid injections of carbon dioxide into the ocean–atmosphere system, specifically the combined effects of expanded oxygen minimum zones, rapid warming, and potentially ocean acidification.

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Aragonite dissolution protects calcite at the seafloor

In the open ocean, calcium carbonates are mainly found in two mineral forms. Calcite, the least soluble, is widespread at the seafloor, while aragonite, the more soluble, is rarely preserved in marine sediments. Despite its greater solubility, research has shown that aragonite, whose contribution to global pelagic calcification could be at par with that of calcite, is able to reach the deep-ocean. If large quantities of aragonite settle and dissolve at the seafloor, this represents a large source of alkalinity that buffers the deep ocean and favours the preservation of less soluble calcite, acting as a deep-sea, carbonate version of galvanization. Here, we investigate the role of aragonite dissolution on the early diagenesis of calcite-rich sediments using a novel 3D, micrometric-scale reactive-transport model combined with 3D, X-ray tomography structures of natural aragonite and calcite shells. Results highlight the important role of diffusive transport in benthic calcium carbonate dissolution, in agreement with recent work. We show that, locally, aragonite fluxes to the seafloor could be sufficient to suppress calcite dissolution in the top layer of the seabed, possibly causing calcite recrystallization. As aragonite producers are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification, the proposed galvanizing effect of aragonite could be weakened in the future, and calcite dissolution at the sediment-water interface will have to cover a greater share of CO2 neutralization.

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Ocean acidification effect on the iron-gallic acid redox interaction in seawater

Ocean acidification impacts the iron (Fe) biogeochemistry both by its redox and its complexation reactions. This has a direct effect on the ecosystems due to Fe being an essential micronutrient. Polyphenols exudated by marine microorganisms can complex Fe(III), modifying the Fe(II) oxidation rates as well as promoting the reduction of Fe(III) to Fe(II) in seawater. The effect of the polyphenol gallic acid (GA; 3,4,5-trihydroxy benzoic acid) on the oxidation and reduction of Fe was studied. The Fe(II) oxidation rate constant decreased, increasing the permanence of Fe(II) in solutions at nM levels. At pH = 8.0 and in the absence of gallic acid, 69.3% of the initial Fe(II) was oxidized after 10 min. With 100 nM of gallic acid (ratio 4:1 GA:Fe), and after 30 min, 37.5% of the initial Fe(II) was oxidized. Fe(III) is reduced to Fe(II) by gallic acid in a process that depends on the pH and composition of solution, being faster as pH decreases. At pH > 7.00, the Fe(III) reduction rate constant in seawater was lower than in NaCl solutions, being the difference at pH 8.0 of 1.577 × 10–5 s–1. Moreover, the change of the Fe(III) rate constant with pH, within the studied range, was higher in seawater (slope = 0.91) than in NaCl solutions (slope = 0.46). The Fe(III) reduction rate constant increased with increasing ligand concentration, being the effect higher at pH 7.0 [k′ = 1.078 × 10–4 s–1; (GA) = 250 nM] compared with that at pH 8.0 [k′ = 3.407 × 10–5 s–1; (GA) = 250 nM]. Accordingly, gallic acid reduces Fe(III) to Fe(II) in seawater, making possible the presence of Fe(II) for longer periods and favoring its bioavailability.

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Chemical speciation models based upon the Pitzer activity coefficient equations, including the propagation of uncertainties. II. Tris buffers in artificial seawater at 25 °C, and an assessment of the seawater ‘Total’ pH scale

The substance Tris (or THAM, 2-amino-2-hydroxymethyl-1,3-propanediol, CAS 77–86-1), and its protonated form TrisH+, is used in the preparation of pH buffer solutions for applications in seawater chemistry. The development of an acid-base chemical speciation model of buffer solutions containing Tris, TrisH+, and the major ions of seawater is desirable so that: (i) the effects of changes in the composition of the medium on pH can be calculated; (ii) pH on the free (a measure of [H+]) and total (a measure of ([H+] + [HSO4])) scales can be interconverted; (iii) approximations inherent in the definition of the total pH scale can be quantified; (iv) electrode pairs such as H+/Cl and H+/Na+ can more easily be calibrated for the measurement of pH. As a first step towards these goals we have extended the Pitzer-based speciation model of Waters and Millero (Mar. Chem. 149, 8–22, 2013) for artificial seawater to include Tris and TrisH+, at 25 °C. Estimates of the variances and covariances of the additional interaction parameters were obtained by Monte Carlo simulation. This enables the total uncertainty of any model-calculated quantity (e.g., pH, speciation) to be estimated, as well as the individual contributions of all interaction parameters and equilibrium constants. This is important for model development, because it allows the key interactions to be identified. The model was tested against measured EMFs of cells containing Tris buffer in artificial seawater at 25 °C, and the mean deviation was found to be 0.13 ± 0.070 mV for salinities 20 to 40. Total variances for calculated electromotive forces of the buffer solutions are dominated by contributions from just a few interaction parameters, making it likely that the model can readily be improved. The model was used to quantify the difference between various definitions of total pH and –log10([H+] + [HSO4]) in Tris buffer solutions at 25 °C, for the first time (item (iii) above). The results suggest that the total pH scale can readily be extended to low salinities using the established approach for substituting TrisH+ for Na+ in the buffer solutions, especially if the speciation model is used to quantify the effect on pH of the substitution. The relationships between electromotive force (EMF), and pH on the total scale, with buffer molality in artificial seawater at constant salinity are shown to be linear above about 0.01 to 0.02 mol kg−1 buffer molality. The pH of Tris buffers containing ratios of TrisH+ to Tris that vary from unity can be calculated very simply. Technical aspects of the total pH scale, such as the extrapolation of pH to zero buffer (at constant salinity), are clarified. Recommendations are made for further work to extend the model to the temperature range 0–45 °C, and improve accuracy, so that requirements (i) to (iv) above can be fully met.

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Use of aircraft in ocean alkalinity enhancement


  • Aircraft can distribute slaked lime for ocean alkalinity enhancement.
  • A feasibility analysis is conducted, considering different discharging scenarios.
  • Scenarios assume various aircraft payload, discharge altitude and duration.
  • Energy penalty and costs are much higher than distribution in the ships’ wake.
  • Very high dispersion is reached, but effects on surface microlayer are still unclear.


Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement (OAE) is a proposed Negative Emissions Technology (NET) to remove atmospheric CO2 through the dispersion of alkaline materials (e.g.: calcium hydroxide, slaked lime, SL) into seawater, simultaneously counteracting ocean acidification. This study considers aircraft discharge of SL and its consequent dry deposition, extending to the marine environment a technique used in freshwater. A feasibility analysis assesses potential, costs, benefits, and disadvantages, considering scenarios with different assumptions on aircraft size, discharge height and duration, and wind conditions.

Due to the small size of SL particles (median diameter 9 μm), the dispersion from aircraft is highly enhanced by wind drift; the smallest SL particles may drift thousands of kilometres, especially if discharged from elevated altitudes. This could pose problems related to powders particles settling on remote lands.

Although calcium hydroxide maximum concentration into water (from 0.01 to 82 mg L−1) is for almost all the scenarios lower than the most stringent threshold for the ecosystem impacts on a 96-h exposure, the ecologically sensitive sea surface microlayer (SML) should be considered in detail.

The high CO2 emissions of the Landing to Take-Off Cycle (LTO) of the aircraft and their limited payload lead to a significant CO2 penalty, ranging in analysed scenarios between 28% and 77% of the CO2 removal potential; very fast discharge could reduce the penalty to 11% – 32%. Preliminary cost analysis shows that the cost of the SL discharge through aircraft is high, between € 30 and € 1846 per ton of CO2 removed (neglecting the lime cost), substantially higher than the cost for discharge by surface vessels resulting from previous studies, which restricts the practical use of this strategy.

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Reconstruction of global surface ocean pCO2 using region-specific predictors based on a stepwise FFNN regression algorithm (update)

Various machine learning methods were attempted in the global mapping of surface ocean partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) to reduce the uncertainty of the global ocean CO2 sink estimate due to undersampling of pCO2. In previous research, the predictors of pCO2 were usually selected empirically based on theoretic drivers of surface ocean pCO2, and the same combination of predictors was applied in all areas except where there was a lack of coverage. However, the differences between the drivers of surface ocean pCO2 in different regions were not considered. In this work, we combined the stepwise regression algorithm and a feed-forward neural network (FFNN) to select predictors of pCO2 based on the mean absolute error in each of the 11 biogeochemical provinces defined by the self-organizing map (SOM) method. Based on the predictors selected, a monthly global 1 × 1 surface ocean pCO2 product from January 1992 to August 2019 was constructed. Validation of different combinations of predictors based on the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) dataset version 2020 and independent observations from time series stations was carried out. The prediction of pCO2 based on region-specific predictors selected by the stepwise FFNN algorithm was more precise than that based on predictors from previous research. Applying the FFNN size-improving algorithm in each province decreased the mean absolute error (MAE) of the global estimate to 11.32 µatm and the root mean square error (RMSE) to 17.99 µatm. The script file of the stepwise FFNN algorithm and pCO2 product are distributed through the Institute of Oceanology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Marine Science Data Center (IOCAS,, Zhong, 2021.

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Effects of warming, eutrophication and climate variability on acidification of the seasonally stratified North Yellow Sea over the past 40 years


  • Warming mitigates decadal decline in wintertime Ωarag in North Yellow Sea (NYS).
  • Pacific Decadal Oscillation affects NYS carbonate system with a lag of 2–3 years.
  • Seasonal reduction of subsurface Ωarag has been enhanced by 4 folds over 40 years.


The North Yellow Sea (NYS) is a productive marginal sea of the western North Pacific. In summer and autumn, CaCO3 saturation states beneath the seasonal thermocline in the NYS have frequently fallen below critical levels, indicating that marine calcifying organisms are under threat. To explore the long-term evolution of the acidification of the NYS, we reconstructed seasonal variations in subsurface aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) and pH during 1976–2017, using wintertime and summertime temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen and pH data mainly from a quality-controlled oceanographic database. Over the past 40 years, the wintertime warming rate in the NYS was twice the rate of global ocean surface warming. Warming-induced decrease in CO2 solubility canceled out a part of the wintertime Ωarag decrease caused by atmospheric CO2 increase, and also had minor effect on pH changes in winter. Although the NYS is a semi-enclosed marginal sea, its interannual variations of wintertime temperature, salinity, pH and Ωarag were correlated to Pacific Decadal Oscillation with a lag of 2–3 years. Due to the eutrophication-induced enhancement of net community respiration beneath the seasonal thermocline, long-term declines of bottom-water Ωarag and pH in summer were substantially faster than the declines of assumed air-equilibrated Ωarag and pH in spring. Over the past 40 years, the amplitudes of seasonal variations of bottom-water Ωarag and pH from spring to summer/autumn have increased by 4–7 times. This amplification has pushed the NYS towards the critical threshold of net community CaCO3 dissolution at a pace faster than that forecast under scenarios of atmospheric CO2 increase. In summary, our results provide insights into the combined effects of ocean warming, eutrophication, atmospheric CO2 rise and climate variability on coastal hydrochemistry, explaining how the environmental stresses on local marine calcifying organisms and the benthic ecosystem increased over the past 40 years.

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Microbial alkalinity production and silicate alteration in methane charged marine sediments: implications for porewater chemistry and diagenetic carbonate formation

A numerical reaction-transport model was developed to simulate the effects of microbial activity and mineral reactions on the composition of porewater in a 230-m-thick Pleistocene interval drilled in the Peru-Chile Trench (Ocean Drilling Program, Site 1230). This site has porewater profiles similar to those along many continental margins, where intense methanogenesis occurs and alkalinity surpasses 100 mmol/L. Simulations show that microbial sulphate reduction, anaerobic oxidation of methane, and ammonium release from organic matter degradation only account for parts of total alkalinity, and excess CO2 produced during methanogenesis leads to acidification of porewater. Additional alkalinity is produced by slow alteration of primary aluminosilicate minerals to kaolinite and SiO2. Overall, alkalinity production in the methanogenic zone is sufficient to prevent dissolution of carbonate minerals; indeed, it contributes to the formation of cemented carbonate layers at a supersaturation front near the sulphate-methane transition zone. Within the methanogenic zone, carbonate formation is largely inhibited by cation diffusion but occurs rapidly if cations are transported into the zone via fluid conduits, such as faults. The simulation presented here provides fundamental insight into the diagenetic effects of the deep biosphere and may also be applicable for the long-term prediction of the stability and safety of deep CO2 storage reservoirs.

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Responses of benthic calcifying algae to ocean acidification differ between laboratory and field settings

Accurately predicting the effects of ocean and coastal acidification on marine ecosystems requires understanding how responses scale from laboratory experiments to the natural world. Using benthic calcifying macroalgae as a model system, we performed a semi-quantitative synthesis to compare directional responses between laboratory experiments and field studies. Variability in ecological, spatial, and temporal scales across studies, and the disparity in the number of responses documented in laboratory and field settings, make direct comparisons difficult. Despite these differences, some responses, including community-level measurements, were consistent across laboratory and field studies. However, there were also mismatches in the directionality of many responses with more negative acidification impacts reported in laboratory experiments. Recommendations to improve our ability to scale responses include: (i) developing novel approaches to allow measurements of the same responses in laboratory and field settings, and (ii) researching understudied calcifying benthic macroalgal species and responses. Incorporating these guidelines into research programs will yield data more suitable for robust meta-analyses and will facilitate the development of ecosystem models that incorporate proper scaling of organismal responses to in situ acidification. This, in turn, will allow for more accurate predictions of future changes in ecosystem health and function in a rapidly changing natural climate.

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A geographic weighted regression approach for improved total alkalinity estimates in the Northern Gulf of Mexico


  • Algorithms were developed to estimate total alkalinity in northern Gulf of Mexico.
  • Use of chlorophyll a addressed the biological and chemical complexities.
  • Geographically weighted regression produced the best estimates.


Total alkalinity (TA) is one of the important parameters to show the intensity of seawater buffer against ocean acidification. TA dynamics in the northern Gulf of Mexico (N-GoM) is significantly affected by the Mississippi River. An empirical TA algorithm is offered here which accounts for the local effects of coastal processes. In situ data collected during numerous research cruises in the N-GoM were compiled and used to develop TA algorithms using sea surface temperature (SST) and sea surface salinity (SSS) as explanatory variables. After improving the coefficients and functional form of this algorithm, chlorophyll a (Chl-a) was included as an additional explanatory variable, which worked as a proxy for addressing the pronounced effects of biological forcing on coastal waters. Finally, a geographically weighted regression algorithm was developed in the form TA = exp[Xo + X1(SSS-35)2+X2(SSSxSST)1/2+X3chl-a] to address spatial non-stationarity, which produced improved estimates of TA in the N-GoM.

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Micro-CT image gallery visually presenting the effects of ocean warming and acidification on marine gastropod shells


Digitisation of specimens (e.g. zoological, botanical) can provide access to advanced morphological and anatomical information and promote new research opportunities. The micro-CT technology may support the development of “virtual museums” or “virtual laboratories” where digital 3D imaging data are shared widely and freely. There is currently a lack of universal standards concerning the publication and curation of micro-CT datasets.

New information

The aim of the current project was to create a virtual gallery with micro-CT scans of individuals of the marine gastropod Hexaplex trunculus, which were maintained under a combination of increased temperature and low pH conditions, thus simulating future climate change scenarios. The 3D volume-rendering models created were used to visualise the structure properties of the gastropods shells. Finally, the 3D analysis performed on the micro-CT scans was used to investigate potential changes in the shell properties of the gastropods. The derived micro-CT 3D images were annotated with detailed metadata and can be interactively displayed and manipulated using online tools through the micro-CT virtual laboratory, which was developed under the LifeWatchGreece Research Infrastructure for the dissemination of virtual image galleries collection supporting the principles of FAIR data.

Continue reading ‘Micro-CT image gallery visually presenting the effects of ocean warming and acidification on marine gastropod shells’

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