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AGU: Global Biogeochemical Cycles

 

Keywords

  • Acidification
  • Aragonite
  • Calcite
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Saturation State

Index Terms

  • 1630 - Impacts of global change
  • 4805 - Biogeochemical cycles, processes, and modeling
  • 4806 - Carbon cycling

Paper in Press

GLOBAL BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLES, doi:10.1029/2011GB004157

Decadal Changes in the Aragonite and Calcite Saturation State of the Pacific Ocean

Key Points
  • We have observed an average 0.34% yr-1 decrease in the saturation state of surfa
  • The upward migrations of the aragonite and calcite saturation horizons averages
  • The shoaling of the saturation horizon is regionally variable

Authors:

Richard A. Feely

Christopher L. Sabine

Robert H. Byrne

Frank J. Millero

Andrew G. Dickson

Rik Wanninkhof

Akihiko Murata

Lisa A. Miller

Dana Greeley

Based on measurements from the WOCE/JGOFS global CO2 survey, the CLIVAR/CO2 Repeat Hydrography Program and the Canadian Line P survey, we have observed an average decrease of 0.34% yr-1 in the saturation state of surface seawater in the Pacific Ocean with respect to aragonite and calcite. The upward migrations of the aragonite and calcite saturation horizons, averaging about 1 to 2 m yr-1, are the direct result of the uptake of anthropogenic CO2 by the oceans and regional changes in circulation and biogeochemical processes. The shoaling of the saturation horizon is regionally variable, with more rapid shoaling in the South Pacific where there is a larger uptake of anthropogenic CO2. In some locations, particularly in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre and in the California Current, the decadal changes in circulation can be the dominant factor in controlling the migration of the saturation horizon. If CO2 emissions continue as projected over the rest of this century, the resulting changes in the marine carbonate system would mean that many coral reef systems in the Pacific would no longer be able to sustain a sufficiently high rate of calcification to maintain the viability of these ecosystems as a whole, and these changes perhaps could seriously impact the thousands of marine species that depend on them for survival.

Received 6 July 2011; accepted 7 May 2012.

Citation: Feely, R. A., C. L. Sabine, R. H. Byrne, F. J. Millero, A. G. Dickson, R. Wanninkhof, A. Murata, L. A. Miller, and D. Greeley (2012), Decadal Changes in the Aragonite and Calcite Saturation State of the Pacific Ocean, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, doi:10.1029/2011GB004157, in press.