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Rapid Warming and Salinity Changes in the Gulf of Maine Alter Surface Ocean Carbonate Parameters and Hide Ocean Acidification

December 8, 2017 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

The School of Marine Sciences presents

Dr. Joseph Salisbury
University of New Hampshire

A  profound  warming  event  in  the  Gulf  of  Maine  (GOM)  during the  last  decade  has  caused sea surface temperatures (SST) to rise to levels 2 solubility and, in turn, the status  of  the  sea  surface  carbonate  system.  When  combined  with the concomitant  increase in sea surface salinity and assumed rapid equilibration of carbon dioxide across the air sea interface, thermodynamic forcing partially mitigated the effects of ocean  acidification  (OA)  for  pH,  while  raising  the saturation  index  of  aragonite  (WAR) by an average of 0.14 units. Although the recent event is categorically extreme, we find that carbonate system parameters also respond to interannual to sub-­‐decadal  variability  in temperature  and  salinity,  and  that  such  phenomena  can  mask the expression of OA caused by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. An analysis  of  a  34-­‐year salinity  and  SST  time  series  (1981-­‐2014)  shows  instances  of  decadal scale anomalies in temperature and salinity that perturb the carbonate system  to  an extent  greater  than  that  expected  from  OA.  Because  such  conditions  are not uncommon in our time series, it is critical to understand processes controlling the  carbonate  system  and  how  ecosystems  with  calcifying  organisms  respond to its rapidly changing conditions. It is also imperative that regional to global models used to estimate carbonate system trends carefully resolve variations in the  physical  processes  that  control  CO2 on  timescales  from  episodic events  to  decades and longer.

Polycom availability with Darling Marine Center, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and Bigelow Laboratories

Host: Damian Brady (


December 8, 2017
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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School of Marine Sciences
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