Technical note: Interpreting pH changes

Type Article
Date 2021
Language English
Author(s) Fassbender Andrea J.ORCID1, Orr James C.ORCID2, Dickson Andrew G.ORCID3
Affiliation(s) 1 : Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 7700 Sandholdt Road, Moss Landing, CA 95039, USA
2 : LSCE/IPSL, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
3 : Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
Source Biogeosciences (1726-4189) (Copernicus GmbH), 2021 , Vol. 18 , N. 4 , P. 1407-1415
DOI 10.5194/bg-18-1407-2021
Abstract

he number and quality of ocean pH measurements have increased substantially over the past few decades such that trends, variability, and spatial patterns of change are now being evaluated. However, comparing pH changes across domains with different initial pH values can be misleading because a pH change reflects a relative change in the hydrogen ion concentration ([H+], expressed in mol kg−1) rather than an absolute change in [H+]. We recommend that [H+] be used in addition to pH when describing such changes and provide three examples illustrating why.

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