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Progressive seawater acidification on the Great Barrier Reef continental shelf

Citation

Fabricius, KE and Neill, C and Van Ooijen, E and Smith, JN and Tilbrook, B, Progressive seawater acidification on the Great Barrier Reef continental shelf, Scientific Reports, 10, (1) Article 18602. ISSN 2045-2322 (2020) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright Statement

© The Author(s) 2020. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41598-020-75293-1

Abstract

Coral reefs are highly sensitive to ocean acidification due to rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations. We present 10 years of data (2009–2019) on the long-term trends and sources of variation in the carbon chemistry from two fixed stations in the Australian Great Barrier Reef. Data from the subtropical mid-shelf GBRWIS comprised 3-h instrument records, and those from the tropical coastal NRSYON were monthly seawater samples. Both stations recorded significant variation in seawater CO2 fugacity (fCO2), attributable to seasonal, daytime, temperature and salinity fluctuations. Superimposed over this variation, fCO2 progressively increased by > 2.0 ± 0.3 µatm year−1 at both stations. Seawater temperature and salinity also increased throughout the decade, whereas seawater pH and the saturation state of aragonite declined. The decadal upward fCO2 trend remained significant in temperature- and salinity-normalised data. Indeed, annual fCO2 minima are now higher than estimated fCO2 maxima in the early 1960s, with mean fCO2 now ~ 28% higher than 60 years ago. Our data indicate that carbonate dissolution from the seafloor is currently unable to buffer the Great Barrier Reef against ocean acidification. This is of great concern for the thousands of coral reefs and other diverse marine ecosystems located in this vast continental shelf system.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:seawater, acidification, Great Barrier Reef, CO2
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Environmental assessment and monitoring
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Effects of climate change on Australia (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Tilbrook, B (Dr Bronte Tilbrook)
ID Code:143145
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2021-03-02
Last Modified:2021-05-26
Downloads:4 View Download Statistics

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