Feb 23, 2016

The exposure of the Great Barrier Reef to ocean acidification

Mathieu Mongin, Mark E. Baird, Bronte Tilbrook, Richard J. Matear, Andrew Lenton, Mike Herzfeld, Karen Wild-Allen, Jenny Skerratt, Nugzar Margvelashvili, Barbara J. Robson, et al
Nature Communications
  • States the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is founded on reef-building corals
  • States that corals build their exoskeleton with aragonite, but ocean acidification is lowering the aragonite saturation state of seawater (Ωa)
  • Uses a regional coupled circulation–biogeochemical model and observations to estimate the Ωa experienced by the 3,581 reefs of the GBR, and to apportion the contributions of the hydrological cycle, regional hydrodynamics and metabolism on Ωa variability
  • Finds more detail, and a greater range (1.43), than previously compiled coarse maps of Ωa of the region (0.4), or in observations (1.0)
  • Finds that most of the variability in Ωa is due to processes upstream of the reef in question
  • Holds that future decline in Ωa is likely to be steeper on the GBR than currently projected by the IPCC assessment report