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Calcium carbonate saturation states along the West Antarctic Peninsula

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 October 2021

Elizabeth M. Jones*
Affiliation:
Institute of Marine Research, Fram Centre, Hjalmar Johansens gate 14, 9007Tromsø, Norway NIOZ, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Den Burg, The Netherlands
Mario Hoppema
Affiliation:
Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Climate Sciences Department, Postfach 120161, 27515Bremerhaven, Germany
Karel Bakker
Affiliation:
NIOZ, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Department of Ocean Systems (OCS), Den Burg, The Netherlands Utrecht University, PO Box 59, Den Burg 1790 AB, The Netherlands
Hein J.W. de Baar
Affiliation:
NIOZ, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Den Burg, The Netherlands Ocean Ecosystems, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 7, 9747 AG, Groningen, The Netherlands

Abstract

The waters along the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) have experienced warming and increased freshwater inputs from melting sea ice and glaciers in recent decades. Challenges exist in understanding the consequences of these changes on the inorganic carbon system in this ecologically important and highly productive ecosystem. Distributions of dissolved inorganic carbon (CT), total alkalinity (AT) and nutrients revealed key physical, biological and biogeochemical controls of the calcium carbonate saturation state (Ωaragonite) in different water masses across the WAP shelf during the summer. Biological production in spring and summer dominated changes in surface water Ωaragonite (ΔΩaragonite up to +1.39; ~90%) relative to underlying Winter Water. Sea-ice and glacial meltwater constituted a minor source of AT that increased surface water Ωaragonite (ΔΩaragonite up to +0.07; ~13%). Remineralization of organic matter and an influx of carbon-rich brines led to cross-shelf decreases in Ωaragonite in Winter Water and Circumpolar Deep Water. A strong biological carbon pump over the shelf created Ωaragonite oversaturation in surface waters and suppression of Ωaragonite in subsurface waters. Undersaturation of aragonite occurred at < ~1000 m. Ongoing changes along the WAP will impact the biologically driven and meltwater-driven processes that influence the vulnerability of shelf waters to calcium carbonate undersaturation in the future.

Type
Biological Sciences
Copyright
Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2021

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