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      Anthropogenic carbon and ocean pH

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      Nature

      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Reduced calcification of marine plankton in response to increased atmospheric CO2.

          The formation of calcareous skeletons by marine planktonic organisms and their subsequent sinking to depth generates a continuous rain of calcium carbonate to the deep ocean and underlying sediments. This is important in regulating marine carbon cycling and ocean-atmosphere CO2 exchange. The present rise in atmospheric CO2 levels causes significant changes in surface ocean pH and carbonate chemistry. Such changes have been shown to slow down calcification in corals and coralline macroalgae, but the majority of marine calcification occurs in planktonic organisms. Here we report reduced calcite production at increased CO2 concentrations in monospecific cultures of two dominant marine calcifying phytoplankton species, the coccolithophorids Emiliania huxleyi and Gephyrocapsa oceanica. This was accompanied by an increased proportion of malformed coccoliths and incomplete coccospheres. Diminished calcification led to a reduction in the ratio of calcite precipitation to organic matter production. Similar results were obtained in incubations of natural plankton assemblages from the north Pacific ocean when exposed to experimentally elevated CO2 levels. We suggest that the progressive increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations may therefore slow down the production of calcium carbonate in the surface ocean. As the process of calcification releases CO2 to the atmosphere, the response observed here could potentially act as a negative feedback on atmospheric CO2 levels.
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            Evidence for a higher pH in the glacial ocean from boron isotopes in foraminifera

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              The role of the southern ocean in uptake and storage of anthropogenic carbon dioxide

              An ocean-climate model that shows high fluxes of anthropogenic carbon dioxide into the Southern Ocean, but very low storage of anthropogenic carbon there, agrees with observation-based estimates of ocean storage of anthropogenic carbon dioxide. This low simulated storage indicates a subordinate role for deep convection in the present-day Southern Ocean. The primary mechanism transporting anthropogenic carbon out of the Southern Ocean is isopycnal transport. These results imply that if global climate change reduces the density of surface waters in the Southern Ocean, isopycnal surfaces that now outcrop may become isolated from the atmosphere, tending to diminish Southern Ocean carbon uptake.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                September 2003
                September 2003
                : 425
                : 6956
                : 365
                Article
                10.1038/425365a
                14508477
                © 2003

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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