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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2017-225
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
16 Jun 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).
Sensitivity of Future Ocean Acidification to Carbon Climate Feedbacks
Richard J. Matear1 and Andrew Lenton1,2 1CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
2Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Abstract. Carbon-climate feedbacks have the potential to significantly impact the future climate by altering atmospheric CO2 concentrations (Zaehle et al., 2010). By modifying the future atmospheric CO2 concentrations, the carbon-climate feedbacks will also influence the future trajectory for ocean acidification. Here, we use the CO2 emissions scenarios from 4 Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) with an Earth System Model to project the future trajectories of ocean acidification with the inclusion of carbon-climate feedbacks. We show that simulated carbon-climate feedbacks can significantly impact the onset of under-saturated aragonite conditions in the Southern and Arctic Oceans, the suitable habitat for tropical coral and the deepwater saturation states. Under higher emission scenarios (RCP8.5 and RCP6.0), the carbon-climate feedbacks advance the onset of under-saturation conditions and the reduction in suitable coral reef habitat by a decade or more. The impact of the carbon-climate feedback is most significant for the medium (RCP4.5) and low emission (RCP2.6) scenarios. For RCP4.5 scenario by 2100, the carbon-climate feedbacks nearly double the area of surface water under-saturated respect to aragonite and reduce by 50 % the surface water suitable for coral reefs. For RCP2.6 scenario by 2100, the carbon-climate feedbacks reduce the area suitable for coral reefs by 40 % and increase the area of under-saturated surface water by 20 %. The high sensitivity of the impact of ocean acidification to the carbon-climate feedbacks in the low to medium emissions scenarios is important because our recent commitments to reduce CO2 emissions are trying to move us on to such an emissions scenario. The study highlights the need to better characterise the carbon-climate feedbacks to ensure we do not excessively stress the oceans by under-estimating the future impact of ocean acidification.

Citation: Matear, R. J. and Lenton, A.: Sensitivity of Future Ocean Acidification to Carbon Climate Feedbacks, Biogeosciences Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2017-225, in review, 2017.
Richard J. Matear and Andrew Lenton
Richard J. Matear and Andrew Lenton
Richard J. Matear and Andrew Lenton

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Short summary
We show climate-carbon feedbacks accelerate and enhance ocean acidification. Such an acceleration of ocean acidification may further undermine the ability of marine biota to adapt to the changing environment. Our study also identifies the need to use Earth System Models to make future ocean acidification projections (relevance to AR6) and the need to reduce the uncertainty in the climate-carbon feedbacks.
We show climate-carbon feedbacks accelerate and enhance ocean acidification. Such an...
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