Acidification-vulnerable carbonate system of the East Sea (Japan Sea) [post]

Taehee Na, Jeomshik Hwang, Soyun Kim, Seonghee Jeong, TaeKeun Rho, Tongsup Lee
2019 unpublished
<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> The East Sea (Japan Sea) has its own deep overturning circulation, but this operates over a much shorter timescale than that in the open ocean. This allows the East Sea to be used as a natural laboratory in which to investigate potential future changes in the oceanic system. Dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and total alkalinity (TA) were measured in 2014 and 2017 to investigate the characteristics and temporal variability of the carbonate system
more » ... carbonate system of the East Sea. When the East Sea was compared with a site in the South Atlantic that has similar apparent oxygen utilization (AOU) values, it was also found to have similar DIC content of the deep waters. However, the TA levels in the East Sea were much lower than those recorded in the South Atlantic. Consequently, the DIC / TA ratio of the deep waters of the East Sea was high and similar to that in the North Pacific, which leaves the deep waters of the East Sea vulnerable to acidification by CO<sub>2</sub> input. High export production of organic matter, together with low rates of CaCO<sub>3</sub> export, are responsible for this high DIC / TA ratio. In the Ulleung Basin, in the southwest of the East Sea, the DIC and AOU of the deep waters increased between 1999 and 2014. pH decrease of the deep waters and shoaling of the carbonate saturation horizons was faster than that recorded in the oceans. Both slowed deep-water ventilation, and the intrusion of anthropogenic CO<sub>2</sub> contributed to the acidification of the East Sea. However, a clear increase in DIC from the Japan Basin to the Ulleung Basin, accompanied by a commensurate increase in AOU, was observed in 2014, whereas the meridional gradient was absent in 1999. This observation appears to reflect recent changes in deep-water ventilation, such as the re-initiation of deep-water formation. The East Sea is extremely vulnerable to acidification and should be seen as a special case of ocean acidification rather than an example of how the oceans will respond to a slowdown in ventilation in the future.</p>
doi:10.5194/bg-2019-474 fatcat:vyqvmqg2tjdtzek5eslbz2mf4q