The oceanic inorganic carbon content is increasing due to partial equilibration with the anthropogenic increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Due to the slow turnover of the ocean, the greatest changes to marine carbonate chemistry are presently seen in the productive surface ocean. The high latitudes are regions with the greatest connectivity between the surface and intermediate to deep oceans and are thus sites where anthropogenic carbon is removed most effectively from the surface. They are also areas which are predicted to undergo the earliest and greatest changes to the carbonate system with the potential to modify ecological systems with associated climate feedbacks. Under the IPY BIAC project we have studied the processes conditioning the carbon biogeochemistry of the surface and intermediate waters of the Weddell and Barents Seas prior to deep water formation. We will show the rates and regionality of anthropogenic carbon increases and ocean acidification determined from direct observations and data based methods. We will also discuss future changes in high latitude acidification derived from both simple ocean and complex coupled physical-biological ecosystem models providing tipping points predictions. These will be related to recent results from deliberate carbon dioxide manipulation experiments on marine pelagic ecosystems.
Helmholtz Research Programs > MARCOPOLI (2004-2008) > POL2-Southern Ocean climate and ecosystem