Assessment of Annual Physico-Chemical Variability via High-Temporal Resolution Monitoring in an Antarctic Shallow Coastal Site (Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea)
The Southern Ocean is an important atmospheric carbon sink, and potential changes in the carbon flux in this region will affect the ocean as a whole. Thus, to monitor the variability of its physico-chemical parameters is becoming a priority. This study provides the first high-resolution all-year-round record of observed and computed physico-chemical data from a shallow coastal site in Terra Nova Bay (Ross Sea). From November 2018 to November 2019, an underwater observatory deployed at a 25 m
... th under an ice pack recorded pressure (p), temperature (t), electrical conductivity (C), dissolved oxygen (DO), pH in total scale (pHT), and illuminance (Ev). Practical salinity (SP), density (ρ), tidal constituents, carbonate system parameters (total alkalinity (TA), carbon dioxide partial pressure (pCO2), calcite, and aragonite (ΩCa, ΩAr)), together with sea ice concentration (SIC) and chlorophyll-a (Chl-a), were derived from measured and satellite data. t, DO, and pHT displayed the lowest values between July and November (–1.95 °C, 6.61 mL L−1, 7.97) whereas the highest in January (+1.08 °C, 10.61 mL L−1, 8.35). SP had the lowest values (33.72 PSU) in February and the highest (34.87 PSU) in September. Ev peaked in March (201 lux), with the highest values (>50 lux) in correspondence to the lowest values of SIC and a delayed trend, between December and March, with respect to Chl-a values (0.2–1.1 mg m−3). ΩCa and ΩAr showed their highest average monthly values (±s.d.) in January (ΩCa: 3.41 ± 0.27; ΩAr: 2.14 ± 0.17), when DO had maximum values. The lowest Ω occurred in September (ΩCa: 2.11 ± 0.02; ΩAr: 1.32 ± 0.02), at the end of phytoplankton activity. No undersaturation for both calcite and aragonite was recorded during the study period. This study highlights that biological activities and physico-chemical variables of the investigated shallow coastal site are coupled and, in many cases, influence each other.