Posts Tagged 'modeling'

Increase in ocean acidity variability and extremes under increasing atmospheric CO2

Ocean acidity extreme events are short-term periods of extremely high [H+] concentrations. The uptake of anthropogenic CO2 emissions by the ocean is expected to lead to more frequent and intense ocean acidity extreme events, not only due to mean ocean acidification, but also due to increases in ocean acidity variability. Here, we use daily output from ensemble simulations of a comprehensive Earth system model under a low and high CO2 emission scenario to isolate and quantify the impact of changes in variability on changes in ocean acidity extremes. We show that the number of days with extreme [H+] conditions for surface waters is projected to increase by a factor of 14 by the end of the 21st century under a high CO2 emission scenario relative to preindustrial levels. The duration of individual events is projected to triple, and the maximal intensity and the volume extent in the upper 200 m to quintuple. Similar changes are projected in the thermocline. At surface, the changes are mainly driven by increases in [H+] seasonality, whereas changes in interannual variability are also important in the thermocline. Increases in [H+] variability and extremes arise predominantly from increases in the sensitivity of [H+] to variations in its drivers. In contrast to [H+] extremes, the occurrence of short-term extremes in low aragonite saturation state due to changes in variability is projected to decrease. An increase in [H+] variability and an associated increase in extreme events superimposed onto the long-term ocean acidification trend will enhance the risk of severe and detrimental impacts on marine organisms, especially for those that are adapted to a more stable environment.

Continue reading ‘Increase in ocean acidity variability and extremes under increasing atmospheric CO2’

Twenty-first century ocean warming, acidification, deoxygenation, and upper ocean nutrient decline from CMIP6 model projections

Anthropogenic climate change leads to ocean warming, acidification, deoxygenation and reductions in near-surface nutrient concentrations, all of which are expected to affect marine ecosystems. Here we assess projections of these drivers of environmental change over the twenty-first century from Earth system models (ESMs) participating in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) that were forced under the CMIP6 Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs). Projections are compared to those from the previous generation (CMIP5) forced under the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). 10 CMIP5 and 13 CMIP6 models are used in the two multi-model ensembles. Under the high-emission scenario SSP5–8.5, the model mean change (2080–2099 mean values relative to 1870–1899) in sea surface temperature, surface pH, subsurface (100–600 m) oxygen concentration and euphotic (0–100 m) nitrate concentration is +3.48 ± 0.78 °C, −0.44 ± 0.005, −13.27 ± 5.28 mmol m−3 and −1.07 ± 0.45 mmol m−3, respectively. Under the low-emission, high-mitigation scenario SSP1–2.6, the corresponding changes are +1.42 ± 0.32 °C, −0.16 ± 0.002, −6.36 ± 2.92 mmol m−3 and −0.53 ± 0.23 mmol m−3. Projected exposure of the marine ecosystem to these drivers of ocean change depends largely on the extent of future emissions, consistent with previous studies. The Earth system models in CMIP6 generally project greater surface warming, acidification, deoxygenation and euphotic nitrate reductions than those from CMIP5 under comparable radiative forcing, with no reduction in inter-model uncertainties. Under the high-emission CMIP5 scenario RCP8.5, the corresponding changes in sea surface temperature, surface pH, subsurface oxygen and euphotic nitrate concentration are +3.04 ± 0.62 °C, −0.38 ± 0.005, −9.51 ± 2.13 mmol m−3 and −0.66 ± 0.49 mmol m−3, respectively. The greater surface acidification in CMIP6 is primarily a consequence of the SSPs having higher associated atmospheric CO2 concentrations than their RCP analogues. The increased projected warming results from a general increase in the climate sensitivity of CMIP6 models relative to those of CMIP5. This enhanced warming results in greater increases in upper ocean stratification in CMIP6 projections, which contributes to greater reductions in euphotic nitrate and subsurface oxygen ventilation.

Continue reading ‘Twenty-first century ocean warming, acidification, deoxygenation, and upper ocean nutrient decline from CMIP6 model projections’

Exoskeleton dissolution with mechanoreceptor damage in larval Dungeness crab related to severity of present-day ocean acidification vertical gradients


• Coastal habitats with the steepest ocean acidification gradients are most detrimental for larval Dungeness crabs.

• Severe carapace dissolution was observed in larval Dungeness crabs along the US west coast.

• Mechanoreceptors with important sensory and behavioral functions were destabilized.

• Dissolution is negatively related to the growth, demonstrating energetic trade-offs.

• 10% dissolution increase over the last two decades estimated due to atmospheric CO2.


Ocean acidification (OA) along the US West Coast is intensifying faster than observed in the global ocean. This is particularly true in nearshore regions (<200 m) that experience a lower buffering capacity while at the same time providing important habitats for ecologically and economically significant species. While the literature on the effects of OA from laboratory experiments is voluminous, there is little understanding of present-day OA in-situ effects on marine life. Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) is perennially one of the most valuable commercial and recreational fisheries. We focused on establishing OA-related vulnerability of larval crustacean based on mineralogical and elemental carapace to external and internal carapace dissolution by using a combination of different methods ranging from scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, elemental mapping and X-ray diffraction. By integrating carapace features with the chemical observations and biogeochemical model hindcast, we identify the occurrence of external carapace dissolution related to the steepest Ω calcite gradients (∆Ωcal,60) in the water column. Dissolution features are observed across the carapace, pereopods (legs), and around the calcified areas surrounding neuritic canals of mechanoreceptors. The carapace dissolution is the most extensive in the coastal habitats under prolonged (1-month) long exposure, as demonstrated by the use of the model hindcast. Such dissolution has a potential to destabilize mechanoreceptors with important sensory and behavioral functions, a pathway of sensitivity to OA. Carapace dissolution is negatively related to crab larval width, demonstrating a basis for energetic trade-offs. Using a retrospective prediction from a regression models, we estimate an 8.3% increase in external carapace dissolution over the last two decades and identified a set of affected OA-related sublethal pathways to inform future risk assessment studies of Dungeness crabs.

Continue reading ‘Exoskeleton dissolution with mechanoreceptor damage in larval Dungeness crab related to severity of present-day ocean acidification vertical gradients’

The potential impact of nuclear conflict on ocean acidification

We demonstrate that the global cooling resulting from a range of nuclear conflict scenarios would temporarily increase the pH in the surface ocean by up to 0.06 units over a 5‐year period, briefly alleviating the decline in pH associated with ocean acidification. Conversely, the global cooling dissolves atmospheric carbon into the upper ocean, driving a 0.1 to 0.3 unit decrease in the aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) that persists for ~10 years. The peak anomaly in pH occurs 2 years post‐conflict, while the Ωarag anomaly peaks 4‐5 years post‐conflict. The decrease in Ωarag would exacerbate a primary threat of ocean acidification: the inability of marine calcifying organisms to maintain their shells/skeletons in a corrosive environment. Our results are based on sensitivity simulations conducted with a state‐of‐the‐art Earth system model integrated under various black carbon (soot) external forcings. Our findings suggest that regional nuclear conflict may have ramifications for global ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘The potential impact of nuclear conflict on ocean acidification’

Clam feeding plasticity reduces herbivore vulnerability to ocean warming and acidification

Ocean warming and acidification affect species populations, but how interactions within communities are affected and how this translates into ecosystem functioning and resilience remain poorly understood. Here we demonstrate that experimental ocean warming and acidification significantly alters the interaction network among porewater nutrients, primary producers, herbivores and burrowing invertebrates in a seafloor sediment community, and is linked to behavioural plasticity in the clam Scrobicularia plana. Warming and acidification induced a shift in the clam’s feeding mode from predominantly suspension feeding under ambient conditions to deposit feeding with cascading effects on nutrient supply to primary producers. Surface-dwelling invertebrates were more tolerant to warming and acidification in the presence of S. plana, most probably due to the stimulatory effect of the clam on their microalgal food resources. This study demonstrates that predictions of population resilience to climate change require consideration of non-lethal effects such as behavioural changes of key species.

Continue reading ‘Clam feeding plasticity reduces herbivore vulnerability to ocean warming and acidification’

Climate shapes population variation in dogwhelk predation on foundational mussels

Trait variation among populations is important for shaping ecological dynamics. In marine intertidal systems, seawater temperature, low tide emersion temperature, and pH can drive variation in traits and affect species interactions. In western North America, Nucella dogwhelks are intertidal drilling predators of the habitat-forming mussel Mytilus californianus. Nucella exhibit local adaptation, but it is not known to what extent environmental factors and genetic structure contribute to variation in prey selectivity among populations. We surveyed drilled mussels at sites across Oregon and California, USA, and used multiple regression and Mantel tests to test the effects of abiotic factors and Nucella neutral genetic relatedness on the size of mussels drilled across sites. Our results show that Nucella at sites characterized by higher and less variable temperature and pH drilled larger mussels. Warmer temperatures appear to induce faster handling time, and more stable pH conditions may prolong opportunities for active foraging by reducing exposure to repeated stressful conditions. In contrast, there was no significant effect of genetic relatedness on prey size selectivity. Our results emphasize the role of climate in shaping marine predator selectivity on a foundation species. As coastal climates change, predator traits will respond to localized environmental conditions, changing ecological interactions.

Continue reading ‘Climate shapes population variation in dogwhelk predation on foundational mussels’

Potential socioeconomic impacts from ocean acidification and climate change effects on Atlantic Canadian fisheries

Ocean acidification is an emerging consequence of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. The full extent of the biological impacts are currently not entirely defined. However, it is expected that invertebrate species that rely on the mineral calcium carbonate will be directly affected. Despite the limited understanding of the full extent of potential impacts and responses there is a need to identify potential pathways for human societies to be affected by ocean acidification. Research on these social implications is a small but developing field. This research contributes to this field by using an impact assessment framework, informed by a biophysical model of future species distributions, to investigate potential impacts facing Atlantic Canadian society from potential changes in shellfish fisheries driven by ocean acidification and climate change. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are expected to see declines in resource accessibility but are relatively socially insulated from these changes. Conversely, Prince Edward Island, along with Newfoundland and Labrador are more socially vulnerable to potential losses in fisheries, but are expected to experience relatively minor net changes in access.

Continue reading ‘Potential socioeconomic impacts from ocean acidification and climate change effects on Atlantic Canadian fisheries’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book