The potential effect on surface water pH of emissions of SOX and NOX from global ship routes is assessed. The results indicate that regional pH reductions of the same order of magnitude as the CO2-driven acidification can occur in heavily trafficked waters. These findings have important consequences for ocean chemistry, since the sulfuric and nitric acids formed are strong acids in contrast to the weak carbonic acid formed by dissolution of CO2. Our results also provide background for discussion of expanded controls to mitigate acidification due to these shipping emissions.
Posts Tagged 'global'
Tags: chemistry, global, modeling
Tags: biogeochemistry, chemistry, global, modeling
Consistently with the past decades observations, CMIP5 Earth System Models project highest acidification rates in subsurface waters. Using 7 ESMs, we find that high acidification rates in mode and intermediate waters (MIW) on centennial timescales (-0.0008 ± 4 × 10–5 yr–1 to -0.0023 ± 0.0001 yr–1 depending on the scenario) are predominantly explained by the geochemical effect of increasing atmospheric CO2, whereas physical and biological climate change feedbacks explain less than 10% of the simulated changes. MIW are characterized by a larger surface area to volume ratio than deep and bottom waters leading to 5 to 10 times larger carbon uptake. In addition, MIW geochemical properties result in a sensitivity to increasing carbon concentration twice larger than surface waters (Δ[H+] of +1.2 mmol.m–3 for every mmol.m–3 of dissolved carbon in MIW vs. +0.6 in surface waters). Low pH transported by mode and intermediate waters are likely to influence surface pH in upwelling regions decades after their isolation from the atmosphere.
Tags: chemistry, global, modeling
Decadal-to-century scale trends for a range of marine environmental variables in the upper mesopelagic layer (UML, 100–600 m) are investigated using results from seven Earth System Models forced by a high greenhouse gas emission scenario. The models as a class represent the observation-based distribution of oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2), albeit major mismatches between observation-based and simulated values remain for individual models. By year 2100 all models project an increase in SST between 2 °C and 3 °C, and a decrease in the pH and in the saturation state of water with respect to calcium carbonate minerals in the UML. A decrease in the total ocean inventory of dissolved oxygen by 2% to 4% is projected by the range of models. Projected O2 changes in the UML show a complex pattern with both increasing and decreasing trends reflecting the subtle balance of different competing factors such as circulation, production, remineralization, and temperature changes. Projected changes in the total volume of hypoxic and suboxic waters remain relatively small in all models. A widespread increase of CO2 in the UML is projected. The median of the CO2 distribution between 100 and 600m shifts from 0.1–0.2 mol m−3 in year 1990 to 0.2–0.4 mol m−3 in year 2100, primarily as a result of the invasion of anthropogenic carbon from the atmosphere. The co-occurrence of changes in a range of environmental variables indicates the need to further investigate their synergistic impacts on marine ecosystems and Earth System feedbacks.
MEDUSA-2.0: an intermediate complexity biogeochemical model of the marine carbon cycle for climate change and ocean acidification studiesPublished 12 March 2013 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: biogeochemistry, chemistry, global, methods, modeling, primary production
MEDUSA-1.0 (Model of Ecosystem Dynamics, nutrient Utilisation, Sequestration and Acidification) was developed as an “intermediate complexity” plankton ecosystem model to study the biogeochemical response, and especially that of the so-called “biological pump”, to anthropogenically-driven change in the World Ocean (Yool et al., 2011). The base currency in this model was nitrogen from which fluxes of organic carbon, including export to the deep ocean, were calculated by invoking fixed C:N ratios in phytoplankton, zooplankton and detritus. Since the beginning of the industrial era, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) has significantly increased above its natural, inter-glacial background concentration. Simulating and predicting the carbon cycle in the ocean in its entirety, including ventilation of CO2 with the atmosphere and the resulting impact of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems, therefore requires that both organic and inorganic carbon be afforded a full representation in the model specification. Here, we introduce MEDUSA-2.0, an expanded successor model which includes additional state variables for dissolved inorganic carbon, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen and detritus carbon (permitting variable C:N in exported organic matter), as well as a simple benthic formulation and extended parameterisations of phytoplankton growth, calcification and detritus remineralisation. A full description of MEDUSA-2.0, including its additional functionality, is provided and a multi-decadal hindcast simulation described (1860–2005), to evaluate the biogeochemical performance of the model.
Tags: biogeochemistry, chemistry, global, modeling, multiple factors, temperature
It is now well understood that the global surface ocean, whose pH has been reduced by ~0.1 in response to rising atmospheric CO2 since industrialization, will continue to become more acidic as fossil fuel CO2 emissions escalate. However, it is unclear how uncertainties in climate sensitivity to future CO2 emissions will alter the manifestation of ocean acidification. Using an earth system model of intermediate complexity, this study performs a set of simulations that varies equilibrium climate sensitivity by 1.0°–4.5°C for a given CO2 emissions scenario and finds two unexpected and decoupled responses. First, the greater the climate sensitivity, the larger the surface mixed layer acidification signal but the smaller the subsurface acidification. However, taken throughout the ocean, the highest climate sensitivity will paradoxically cause greater global warming while buffering whole-ocean pH by up to 24% on centennial time scales. Second, this study finds a large decoupling between pH and carbonate ion concentration in surface waters whereby these chemical properties show opposite effects under variable climate sensitivity. For every 1°C increase in climate sensitivity, the surface ocean pH reduction grows by 4%, while surface ocean carbonate ion reduction shrinks by 2%. The chemical and spatial decoupling found here highlights the importance of distinguishing the biological impacts of pH and aragonite saturation and understanding the spatial extent of important calcifying biomes so as to truly understand the long-term impacts of ocean acidification.
Tags: biological response, chemistry, community, global, modeling, multiple factors, oxygen, phytoplankton, primary production, temperature
Ocean ecosystems are increasingly stressed by human-induced changes of their physical, chemical and biological environment. Among these changes, warming, acidification, deoxygenation and changes in primary productivity by marine phytoplankton can be considered as four of the major stressors of open ocean ecosystems. Due to rising atmospheric CO2 in the coming decades, these changes will be amplified. Here, we use the most recent simulations performed in the framework of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 to assess how these stressors may evolve over the course of the 21st century. The 10 Earth System Models used here project similar trends in ocean warming, acidification, deoxygenation and reduced primary productivity for each of the IPCC’s representative concentration parthways (RCP) over the 21st century. For the “business-as-usual” scenario RCP8.5, the model-mean changes in 2090s (compared to 1990s) for sea surface temperature, sea surface pH, global O2 content and integrated primary productivity amount to +2.73 °C, −0.33 pH unit, −3.45% and −8.6%, respectively. For the high mitigation scenario RCP2.6, corresponding changes are +0.71 °C, −0.07 pH unit, −1.81% and −2.0% respectively, illustrating the effectiveness of extreme mitigation strategies. Although these stressors operate globally, they display distinct regional patterns. Large decreases in O2 and in pH are simulated in global ocean intermediate and mode waters, whereas large reductions in primary production are simulated in the tropics and in the North Atlantic. Although temperature and pH projections are robust across models, the same does not hold for projections of sub-surface O2 concentrations in the tropics and global and regional changes in net primary productivity.
Climate change and ocean acidification impacts on lower trophic levels and the export of organic carbon to the deep oceanPublished 25 February 2013 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: biogeochemistry, biological response, calcification, chemistry, global, modeling, multiple factors, phytoplankton, primary production, temperature, zooplankton
Most future projections forecast significant and ongoing climate change during the 21st century, but with the severity of impacts dependent on efforts to restrain or reorganise human activity to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. A major sink for atmospheric CO2, and a key source of biological resources, the World Ocean is widely anticipated to undergo profound physical and – via ocean acidification – chemical changes as direct and indirect results of these emissions. Given strong biophysical coupling, the marine biota is also expected to experience strong changes in response to this anthropogenic forcing. Here we examine the large-scale response of ocean biogeochemistry to climate and acidification impacts during the 21st century for Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) 2.6 and 8.5 using an intermediate complexity global ecosystem model, Medusa–2.0. The primary impact of future change lies in stratification-led declines in the availability of key nutrients in surface waters, which in turn leads to a global decrease (1990s vs. 2090s) in ocean productivity (−6.3%). This impact has knock-on consequences for the abundances of the low trophic level biogeochemical actors modelled by Medusa–2.0 (−5.8%), and these would be expected to similarly impact higher trophic level elements such as fisheries. Related impacts are found in the flux of organic material to seafloor communities (−40.7% at 1000 m), and in the volume of ocean suboxic zones (+12.5%). A sensitivity analysis removing an acidification feedback on calcification finds that change in this process significantly impacts benthic communities, suggesting that a better understanding of the OA-sensitivity of calcifying organisms, and their role in ballasting sinking organic carbon, may significantly improve forecasting of these ecosystems. For all processes, there is geographical variability in change, and changes are much more pronounced under RCP 8.5 than the RCP 2.6 scenario.
Geoengineering impact of open ocean dissolution of olivine on atmospheric CO2, surface ocean pH and marine biologyPublished 29 January 2013 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: biogeochemistry, geoengineering, global, mitigation, modeling
Ongoing global warming induced by anthropogenic emissions has opened the debate as to whether geoengineering is a ‘quick fix’ option. Here we analyse the intended and unintended effects of one specific geoengineering approach, which is enhanced weathering via the open ocean dissolution of the silicate-containing mineral olivine. This approach would not only reduce atmospheric CO2 and oppose surface ocean acidification, but would also impact on marine biology. If dissolved in the surface ocean, olivine sequesters 0.28 g carbon per g of olivine dissolved, similar to land-based enhanced weathering. Silicic acid input, a byproduct of the olivine dissolution, alters marine biology because silicate is in certain areas the limiting nutrient for diatoms. As a consequence, our model predicts a shift in phytoplankton species composition towards diatoms, altering the biological carbon pumps. Enhanced olivine dissolution, both on land and in the ocean, therefore needs to be considered as ocean fertilization. From dissolution kinetics we calculate that only olivine particles with a grain size of the order of 1 μm sink slowly enough to enable a nearly complete dissolution. The energy consumption for grinding to this small size might reduce the carbon sequestration efficiency by ~30%.
Tags: Baltic Sea, biogeochemistry, biological response, chemistry, field, global, mesocosms, modeling, primary production
Natural variability in seawater pH and associated carbonate chemistry parameters is in part driven by biological activities such as photosynthesis and respiration. The amplitude of these variations is expected to increase with increasing seawater carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the future, because of simultaneously decreasing buffer capacity. Here, we address this experimentally during a diurnal cycle in a mesocosm CO2 perturbation study. We show that for about the same amount of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) utilized in net community production diel variability in proton (H+) and CO2 concentrations was almost three times higher at CO2 levels of about 675 ± 65 in comparison with levels of 310 ± 30 μatm. With a simple model, adequately simulating our measurements, we visualize carbonate chemistry variability expected for different oceanic regions with relatively low or high net community production. Since enhanced diurnal variability in CO2 and proton concentration may require stronger cellular regulation in phytoplankton to maintain respective gradients, the ability to adjust may differ between communities adapted to low in comparison with high natural variability.
Ocean acidification limits temperature-induced poleward expansion of coral habitats around Japan (update)Published 5 December 2012 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: chemistry, corals, global, modeling, multiple factors, North Pacific, temperature
Using results from four coupled global carbon cycle-climate models combined with in situ observations, we estimate the effects of future global warming and ocean acidification on potential habitats for tropical/subtropical and temperate coral communities in the seas around Japan. The suitability of coral habitats is classified on the basis of the currently observed regional ranges for temperature and saturation states with regard to aragonite (Ωarag). We find that, under the “business as usual” SRES A2 scenario, coral habitats are projected to expand northward by several hundred kilometers by the end of this century. At the same time, coral habitats are projected to become sandwiched between regions where the frequency of coral bleaching will increase, and regions where Ωarag will become too low to support sufficiently high calcification rates. As a result, the habitat suitable for tropical/subtropical corals around Japan may be reduced by half by the 2020s to 2030s, and is projected to disappear by the 2030s to 2040s. The habitat suitable for the temperate coral communities is also projected to decrease, although at a less pronounced rate, due to the higher tolerance of temperate corals for lowΩarag. Our study has two important caveats: first, it does not consider the potential adaptation of the coral communities, which would permit them to colonize habitats that are outside their current range. Second, it also does not consider whether or not coral communities can migrate quickly enough to actually occupy newly emerging habitats. As such, our results serve as a baseline for the assessment of the future evolution of coral habitats, but the consideration of important biological and ecological factors and feedbacks will be required to make more accurate projections.