12. May 2020
Absorption of anthropogenic CO2 is lowering the pH of the world’s oceans. There are growing concerns that ocean acidification will perturb marine populations in a currently unpredictable manner. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program report highlighted the Arctic as a region where the earliest and strongest impacts of OA are expected (AMAP 2013). The Arctic Ocean and Nordic Seas are predicted to experience some of the greatest climatic changes in ocean acidification (Bellerby et al. 2005, 2013; Steinacher et al. 2009; Ciais et al. 2013) and the Arctic marine ecosystem is considered more vulnerable to these changes than lower latitude ecosystems. The Arctic Ocean is already under-saturated with respect to aragonite on parts of the freshwater-influenced shelves (Chierici and Fransson 2009; Anderson et al. 2011; Semiletov et al. 2016) and in regions strongly influenced by seasonal remineralization of organic matter (Bates et al. 2009; Bates and Mathis 2009). Future changes in Arctic OA are expected to occur due to changes in physical conditions (heat, freshwater content), changing advection and riverine inputs, and changes in biological processes (CO2 uptake, organic matter remineralization), in turn also driven by changes in sea ice cover, vertical mixing, horizontal transport, and riverine input (e.g., Steinacher et al. 2009; Chierici et al. 2011; Manizza et al. 2011; Fransson et al. 2013, 2017; Popova et al. 2014; Skogen et al. 2014; Steiner et al. 2014; Wallhead et al., 2017). In the western part of Fram Strait, the outflow water from the Arctic Ocean carries the integrated signal of the physical-chemical processes within the Arctic. In addition to increased sea ice melt, glaciers are melting and retreating (Svalbard), and Atlantic water intrusions at the fronts of marine glaciers around Greenland result in increased sub-glacial melt (Straneo et al. 2013) with the potential for further freshening of the water and acceleration of OA (Fransson et al. 2015, 2016; Meire et al. 2015). Moreover, increasing Atlantic water inflow through the Fram Strait carries large amounts of heat and anthropogenic CO2, which ultimately accelerates OA in these regions (Fransson et al. 2001; Jeansson et al. 2011).
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