Climate change feedbacks on future oceanic acidification
Tellus: Series B, Chemical and Physical Meteorology
A B S T R A C T Oceanic anthropogenic CO 2 uptake will decrease both the pH and the aragonite saturation state ( arag ) of seawater leading to an oceanic acidification. However, the factors controlling future changes in pH and arag are independent and will respond differently to oceanic climate change feedbacks such as ocean warming, circulation and biological changes. We examine the sensitivity of these two CO 2 -related parameters to climate change feedbacks within a coupled atmosphere-ocean
... d atmosphere-ocean model. The ocean warming feedback was found to dominate the climate change responses in the surface ocean. Although surface pH is projected to decrease relatively uniformly by about 0.3 by the year 2100, we find pH to be insensitive to climate change feedbacks, whereas arag is buffered by ∼15%. Ocean carbonate chemistry creates a situation whereby the direct pH changes due to ocean warming are almost cancelled by the pH changes associated with dissolved inorganic carbon concentrations changes via a reduction in CO 2 solubility from ocean warming. We show that the small climate change feedback on future surface ocean pH is independent to the amount of ocean warming. Our analysis therefore implies that future projections of surface ocean acidification only need to consider future atmospheric CO 2 levels, not climate change induced modifications in the ocean.