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      Anthropogenic ocean acidification over the twenty-first century and its impact on calcifying organisms

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          Abstract

          Today's surface ocean is saturated with respect to calcium carbonate, but increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are reducing ocean pH and carbonate ion concentrations, and thus the level of calcium carbonate saturation. Experimental evidence suggests that if these trends continue, key marine organisms--such as corals and some plankton--will have difficulty maintaining their external calcium carbonate skeletons. Here we use 13 models of the ocean-carbon cycle to assess calcium carbonate saturation under the IS92a 'business-as-usual' scenario for future emissions of anthropogenic carbon dioxide. In our projections, Southern Ocean surface waters will begin to become undersaturated with respect to aragonite, a metastable form of calcium carbonate, by the year 2050. By 2100, this undersaturation could extend throughout the entire Southern Ocean and into the subarctic Pacific Ocean. When live pteropods were exposed to our predicted level of undersaturation during a two-day shipboard experiment, their aragonite shells showed notable dissolution. Our findings indicate that conditions detrimental to high-latitude ecosystems could develop within decades, not centuries as suggested previously.

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          Most cited references 47

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          The NCEP/NCAR 40-Year Reanalysis Project

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            The oceanic sink for anthropogenic CO2.

            Using inorganic carbon measurements from an international survey effort in the 1990s and a tracer-based separation technique, we estimate a global oceanic anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) sink for the period from 1800 to 1994 of 118 +/- 19 petagrams of carbon. The oceanic sink accounts for approximately 48% of the total fossil-fuel and cement-manufacturing emissions, implying that the terrestrial biosphere was a net source of CO2 to the atmosphere of about 39 +/- 28 petagrams of carbon for this period. The current fraction of total anthropogenic CO2 emissions stored in the ocean appears to be about one-third of the long-term potential.
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              Oceanography: anthropogenic carbon and ocean pH.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                September 2005
                September 2005
                : 437
                : 7059
                : 681-686
                Article
                10.1038/nature04095
                16193043
                © 2005

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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