Reconstruction of the marine carbonate system at the Western Tropical Atlantic: trends and variabilities from 20 years of the PIRATA program

The Western Tropical Atlantic Ocean (WTAO) is crucial for understanding CO2 dynamics due to inputs from major rivers (Amazon and Orinoco), substantial rainfall from the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), and CO2-rich waters from equatorial upwelling. This study, spanning 1998 to 2018, utilized sea surface temperature (SST) and sea surface salinity (SSS) data from the PIRATA buoy at 8°N 38°W to reconstruct the surface marine carbonate system. Empirical models derived total alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) from SSS, with subsequent estimation of pH and fCO2 from TA, DIC, SSS, and SST data. Linear trend analysis showed statistically significant temporal trends: DIC and fCO2 increased at a rate of 0.7 µmol kg-1 year-1 and 1.539 µatm year-1, respectively, and pH decreased at a rate of -0.001 pH units year-1, although DIC did not show any trend after data was de-seasoned. Rainfall analysis revealed distinct dry (July to December) and wet (January to June) seasons, aligning with lower and higher freshwater influence on the ocean surface, respectively. TA, DIC, and pH correlated positively with SSS, exhibiting higher values during the dry season and lower values during the wet season. Conversely, fCO2 correlated positively with SST, showcasing higher values during the wet season and lower values during the dry season. This emphasizes the influential roles of SSS and SST variability in CO2 solubility within the region. Finally, we have analysed the difference between TA and DIC (TA-DIC) as an indicator for ocean acidification and found a decreasing trend of -0.93 ± 0.02 μmol kg-1 year-1, reinforcing the reduction in the surface ocean buffering capacity in this area. All trends found for the region agree with data from other stations in the tropical and subtropical Atlantic Ocean. In conclusion, the use of empirical models proposed in this study has proven to help filling the gaps in marine carbonate system data in the Western Tropical Atlantic.

Keyword(s)

ocean acidification, pH, CO2, time series, total alkalinity, dissolved inorganic carbon

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Musetti de Assis Carlos Augusto, Pinho Luana Queiroz, Fernandes Alexandre Macedo, Araujo Moacyr, Cotrim da Cunha Leticia (2024). Reconstruction of the marine carbonate system at the Western Tropical Atlantic: trends and variabilities from 20 years of the PIRATA program. Frontiers in Marine Science. 11. 1286960 (18p.). https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2024.1286960, https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00899/101044/

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