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Quantifying the influence of CO2 seasonality on future aragonite undersaturation onset


Sasse, TP and McNeil, BI and Matear, RJ and Lenton, A, Quantifying the influence of CO2 seasonality on future aragonite undersaturation onset, Biogeosciences, 12, (20) pp. 6017-6031. ISSN 1726-4170 (2015) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

DOI: doi:10.5194/bg-12-6017-2015


Ocean acidification is a predictable consequence of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), and is highly likely to impact the entire marine ecosystem-from plankton at the base of the food chain to fish at the top. Factors which are expected to be impacted include reproductive health, organism growth and species composition and distribution. Predicting when critical threshold values will be reached is crucial for projecting the future health of marine ecosystems and for marine resources planning and management. The impacts of ocean acidification will be first felt at the seasonal scale, however our understanding how seasonal variability will influence rates of future ocean acidification remains poorly constrained due to current model and data limitations. To address this issue, we first quantified the seasonal cycle of aragonite saturation state utilizing new data-based estimates of global ocean-surface dissolved inorganic carbon and alkalinity. This seasonality was then combined with earth system model projections under different emissions scenarios (representative concentration pathways; RCPs 2.6, 4.5 and 8.5) to provide new insights into future aragonite undersaturation onset. Under a high emissions scenario (RCP 8.5), our results suggest accounting for seasonality will bring forward the initial onset of month-long undersaturation by 17 10 years compared to annual-mean estimates, with differences extending up to 35 16 years in the North Pacific due to strong regional seasonality. This earlier onset will result in large-scale undersaturation once atmospheric CO2 reaches 496 ppm in the North Pacific and 511 ppm in the Southern Ocean, independent of emission scenario. This work suggests accounting for seasonality is critical to projecting the future impacts of ocean acidification on the marine environment.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:acidification; alkalinity; aragonite; carbon dioxide; carbon emission; carbon sequestration; data interpretation; global ocean; inorganic carbon; marine environment; quantitative analysis; saturation; seasonality; Pacific Ocean; Southern Ocean
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Chemical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Matear, RJ (Dr Richard Matear)
UTAS Author:Lenton, A (Dr Andrew Lenton)
ID Code:118719
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:20
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2017-07-18
Last Modified:2017-08-28
Downloads:111 View Download Statistics

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