The exposure of the Great Barrier Reef to ocean acidification

Mongin, Mathieu, Baird, Mark E., Tilbrook, Bronte, Matear, Richard J., Lenton, Andrew, Herzfeld, Mike, Wild-Allen, Karen, Skerratt, Jenny, Margvelashvili, Nugzar, Robson, Barbara J., Duarte, Carlos M., Gustafsson, Malin S. M., Ralph, Peter J., and Steven, Andrew D. L. (2016) The exposure of the Great Barrier Reef to ocean acidification. Nature Communications, 7. 10732.

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Abstract

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is founded on reef-building corals. Corals build their exoskeleton with aragonite, but ocean acidification is lowering the aragonite saturation state of seawater (Omega(a)). The downscaling of ocean acidification projections from global to GBR scales requires the set of regional drivers controlling Omega(a) to be resolved. Here we use a regional coupled circulation-biogeochemical model and observations to estimate the Omega(a) experienced by the 3,581 reefs of the GBR, and to apportion the contributions of the hydrological cycle, regional hydrodynamics and metabolism on Omega(a) variability. We find more detail, and a greater range (1.43), than previously compiled coarse maps of Omega(a) of the region (0.4), or in observations (1.0). Most of the variability in Omega(a) is due to processes upstream of the reef in question. As a result, future decline in Omega(a) is likely to be steeper on the GBR than currently projected by the IPCC assessment report.

Item ID: 58050
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2041-1723
Keywords: biogeochemistry; coral reefs; marine chemistry
Copyright Information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Funders: CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, eReefs, CSIRO Marine and Coastal Carbon Biogeochemistry Cluster, Australian Climate Change Science Program, National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS)
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2019 09:22
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0405 Oceanography > 040502 Chemical Oceanography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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