Jan 22, 2012

Detecting regional anthropogenic trends in ocean acidification against natural variability

by
T. Friedrich, A. Timmermann, A. Abe-Ouchi, N. R. Bates, M. O. Chikamoto, M. J. Church, J. E. Dore, D. K. Gledhill, M. González-Dávila, M. Heinemann, T. Ilyina, J. H. Jungclaus, E. McLeod, A. Mouchet, J. M. Santana-Casiano
,
Nature Climate Change
  • States that about 30 percent of the ~500 billion metric tons of carbon released to the atmosphere through fossil fuel burning, cement production and land use has been taken up by the oceans
  • States that the oceanic uptake of carbon dioxide leads to changes in marine carbonate chemistry resulting in a decrease of seawater pH and carbonate ion concentration, commonly referred to as ocean acidification
  • States that ocean observations are severely limited with respect to providing reliable estimates of the signal-to-noise ratio of human-induced trends in carbonate chemistry against natural factors
  • Uses three Earth system models to show that the current anthropogenic trend in ocean acidification already exceeds the level of natural variability by up to 30 times on regional scales
  • Demonstrates that the current rates of ocean acidification at monitoring sites in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans exceed those experienced during the last glacial termination by two orders of magnitude