Time Series of Carbonate Chemistry in the Arctic Ocean


The INTAROS team at CNRS-LOV will undertake two missions during the Summer Field Campaign 2019 as part of their monitoring progamme for acidification in Arctic waters. These missions aim to maintain and calibrate in situ instrumentation designed to constantly monitor carbonate chemistry of the Arctic Ocean.


Ocean carbonate chemistry is linked to environmental chemistry in general. As carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, so too does the carbon dioxide in surface waters of the ocean. When dissolved in water, carbon dioxide forms carbonic acid, which can sink and mix with deeper waters, changing the pH of the Ocean. Acidification of the ocean poses a problem for many sea creatures, who tend to manage better in a higher pH environment, particularly for those who have an outer carbonate shell, which can be dissolved and weakened in the presence of acidification.


The ocean has often been called "carbon sink" for its ability to soak up some of the excess carbon from the air and trap it in the water. The consequence is that the ocean is becoming more acidic. Carbon dioxide dissolves more easily in cold water, therefore, Arctic water is particularly prone to acidification. Confounding the situation is the contribution of freshwater ice melt, water that tends to be more acidic, mixing with ocean water. 


Over time, increasing pH can have serious impacts on ocean creatures, not just those with shells, but also those with a narrower range of optimal survival conditions. Changing pH has been known to alter the metabolism of some animals as well as their ability to reproduce. 


INTAROS partners are working together with APIWEV Underwater Observatory, which was deployed at Ny-Alesund (Spitsbergen, 78°55’18N, 11°56’31E) in June 2012. It is part of the German Project COSYNA (Coastal Observation Systems of the Northern- and Arctic Seas), which aims at increasing the availability of continuous real-time data from remote but climatically-sensitive ecosystems. Time series data from this programme is available with close to "real time" accuracy here.


The CNRS-LOV team will head back to the field in September to complete their Summer 2019 assignment. Watch this space for updates.


For more news about the INTAROS Summer Fieldwork Season 2019, stay tuned to our website and social media.


You can check out all the observing sites assessed by INTAROS in this interactive map.

01 August 2019