Nonuniform ocean acidification and attenuation of the ocean carbon sink

Type Article
Date 2017-08
Language English
Author(s) Fassbender Andrea J.1, Sabine Christopher L.2, Palevsky Hilary I.3
Affiliation(s) 1 : Monterey Bay Aquarium Res Inst, Moss Landing, CA 95039, USA.
2 : Natl Ocean & Atmospher Adm, Pacific Marine Environm Lab, Seattle, WA ,USA.
3 : Woods Hole Oceanog Inst, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA.
Source Geophysical Research Letters (0094-8276) (Amer Geophysical Union), 2017-08 , Vol. 44 , N. 16 , P. 8404-8413
DOI 10.1002/2017GL074389
WOS© Times Cited 31
Keyword(s) ocean acidification, carbon sink, Revelle factor, carbon cycle

Surface ocean carbon chemistry is changing rapidly. Partial pressures of carbon dioxide gas (pCO(2)) are rising, pH levels are declining, and the ocean's buffer capacity is eroding. Regional differences in short-term pH trends primarily have been attributed to physical and biological processes; however, heterogeneous seawater carbonate chemistry may also be playing an important role. Here we use Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas Version 4 data to develop 12month gridded climatologies of carbonate system variables and explore the coherent spatial patterns of ocean acidification and attenuation in the ocean carbon sink caused by rising atmospheric pCO(2). High-latitude regions exhibit the highest pH and buffer capacity sensitivities to pCO(2) increases, while the equatorial Pacific is uniquely insensitive due to a newly defined aqueous CO2 concentration effect. Importantly, dissimilar regional pH trends do not necessarily equate to dissimilar acidity ([H+]) trends, indicating that [H+] is a more useful metric of acidification.

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