How ocean acidification will affect marine organisms depends on changes in both the long-term mean and the short-term temporal variability of carbonate chemistry1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. Although the decadal-to-centennial response to atmospheric CO2 and climate change is constrained by observations and models1, 9, little is known about corresponding changes in seasonality10,11,12, particularly for pH. Here we assess the latter by analysing nine earth system models (ESMs) forced with a business-as-usual emissions scenario13. During the twenty-first century, the seasonal cycle of surface-ocean pH was attenuated by 16 ± 7%, on average, whereas that for hydrogen ion concentration [H+] was amplified by 81 ± 16%. Simultaneously, the seasonal amplitude of the aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) was attenuated except in the subtropics, where it was amplified. These contrasting changes derive from regionally varying sensitivities of these variables to atmospheric CO2 and climate change and to diverging trends in seasonal extremes in the primary controlling variables (temperature, dissolved inorganic carbon and alkalinity). Projected seasonality changes will tend to exacerbate the impacts of increasing [H+] on marine organisms during the summer and ameliorate the impacts during the winter, although the opposite holds in the high latitudes. Similarly, over most of the ocean, impacts from declining Ωarag are likely to be intensified during the summer and dampened during the winter.
This is a preview of subscription content
Subscribe to Nature+
Get immediate online access to the entire Nature family of 50+ journals
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $8.25 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Orr, J. C. et al. Anthropogenic ocean acidification over the twenty-first century and its impact on calcifying organisms. Nature 437, 681–686 (2005).
Wootton, J. T., Pfister, C. A. & Forester, J. D. Dynamic patterns and ecological impacts of declining ocean pH in a high-resolution multi-year dataset. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 105, 18848–18853 (2008).
Albright, R. et al. Reversal of ocean acidification enhances net coral reef calcification. Nature 531, 362–365 (2016).
Kwiatkowski, L. et al. Nighttime dissolution in a temperate coastal ocean ecosystem increases under acidification. Sci. Rep. 6, 22984 (2016).
Shaw, E. C., McNeil, B. I., Tilbrook, B., Matear, R. & Bates, M. L. Anthropogenic changes to seawater buffer capacity combined with natural reef metabolism induce extreme future coral reef CO2 conditions. Glob. Chang. Biol. 19, 1632–1641 (2013).
Takahashi, T. et al. Climatological distributions of pH, pCO2, total CO2, alkalinity, and CaCO3 saturation in the global surface ocean, and temporal changes at selected locations. Mar. Chem. 164, 95–125 (2014).
Hagens, M. & Middelburg, J. J. Attributing seasonal pH variability in surface ocean waters to governing factors. Geophys. Res. Lett. 43, 12528–12537 (2016).
Takeshita, Y. et al. Including high-frequency variability in coastal ocean acidification projections. Biogeosciences 12, 5853–5870 (2015).
Bopp, L. et al. Multiple stressors of ocean ecosystems in the 21st century: projections with CMIP5 models. Biogeosciences 10, 6225–6245 (2013).
McNeil, B. I. & Matear, R. J. Southern Ocean acidification: a tipping point at 450-ppm atmospheric CO2. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 105, 18860–18864 (2008).
Sasse, T. P., McNeil, B. I., Matear, R. J. & Lenton, A. Quantifying the influence of CO2 seasonality on future aragonite undersaturation onset. Biogeosciences 12, 6017–6031 (2015).
McNeil, B. I. & Sasse, T. P. Future ocean hypercapnia driven by anthropogenic amplification of the natural CO2 cycle. Nature 529, 383–386 (2016).
Riahi, K. et al. RCP 8.5—a scenario of comparatively high greenhouse gas emissions. Climatic Change 109, 33–57 (2011).
Doney, S. C., Fabry, V. J., Feely, R. A. & Kleypas, J. A. Ocean acidification: the other CO2 problem. Annu. Rev. Mar. Sci. 1, 169–192 (2009).
Kroeker, K. J., Kordas, R. L., Crim, R. N. & Singh, G. G. Meta-analysis reveals negative yet variable effects of ocean acidification on marine organisms. Ecol. Lett. 13, 1419–1434 (2010).
Mangan, S., Urbina, M. A., Findlay, H. S., Wilson, R. W. & Lewis, C. Fluctuating seawater pH/pCO2 regimes are more energetically expensive than static pH/pCO2 levels in the mussel Mytilus edulis. Proc. R. Soc. B 284, 20171642 (2017).
Pörtner, H.-O. Ecosystem effects of ocean acidification in times of ocean warming: a physiologists view. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 373, 203–217 (2008).
Munday, P. L. et al. Ocean acidification impairs olfactory discrimination and homing ability of a marine fish. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 106, 1848–1852 (2009).
Watson, S.-A., Fields, J. B. & Munday, P. L. Ocean acidification alters predator behaviour and reduces predation rate. Biol. Lett. 13, 20160797 (2017).
Gruber, N. et al. Rapid progression of ocean acidification in the California current system. Science 337, 220–223 (2012).
Kwiatkowski, L. et al. Emergent constraints on projections of declining primary production in the tropical oceans. Nat. Clim. Chang. 7, 355–358 (2017).
Ishii, M. et al. Air–sea CO2 flux in the Pacific Ocean for the period 1990–2009. Biogeosciences 11, 709–734 (2014).
Schuster, U. et al. An assessment of the Atlantic and Arctic sea–air CO2 fluxes, 1990–2009. Biogeosciences 10, 607–627 (2013).
Sarma, V. V. S. S. et al. Sea–air CO2 fluxes in the Indian Ocean between 1990 and 2009. Biogeosciences 10, 7035–7052 (2013).
Lenton, A. et al. Sea–air CO2 fluxes in the Southern Ocean for the period 1990–2009. Biogeosciences 10, 4037–4054 (2013).
Mongwe, N. P., Chang, N. & Monteiro, P. M. S. The seasonal cycle as a mode to diagnose biases in modelled CO2 fluxes in the Southern Ocean. Ocean. Model. 106, 90–103 (2016).
Taylor, K. E., Stouffer, R. J. & Meehl, G. A. An Overview of CMIP5 and the experiment design. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 93, 485–498 (2011).
Egleston, E. S., Sabine, C. L. & Morel, F. M. M. Revelle revisited: buffer factors that quantify the response of ocean chemistry to changes in DIC and alkalinity. Glob. Biogeochem. Cycles 24, GB1002 (2010).
Hauck, J. & Völker, C. Rising atmospheric CO2 leads to large impact of biology on Southern Ocean CO2 uptake via changes of the Revelle factor. Geophys. Res. Lett. 42, 2015GL063070 (2015).
Orr, J. C. in Ocean Acidification (eds Gattuso, J.-P. & Hansson, L.) 41–66 (Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, 2011).
Kerrison, P., Hall-Spencer, J. M., Suggett, D. J., Hepburn, L. J. & Steinke, M. Assessment of pH variability at a coastal CO2 vent for ocean acidification studies. Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci. 94, 129–137 (2011).
Schulz, K. G. & Riebesell, U. Diurnal changes in seawater carbonate chemistry speciation at increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Mar. Biol. 160, 1889–1899 (2013).
Jury, C. P., Thomas, F. I. M., Atkinson, M. J. & Toonen, R. J. Buffer capacity, ecosystem feedbacks, and seawater chemistry under global change. Water 5, 1303–1325 (2013).
Orr, J. C. & Epitalon, J.-M. Improved routines to model the ocean carbonate system: mocsy 2.0. Geosci. Model Dev. 8, 485–499 (2015).
Dickson, A. G., Sabine, C. L. & Christian, J. R. Guide to Best Practices for Ocean CO 2 Measurements (North Pacific Marine Science Organization, 2007).
Sellers, P. J. et al. Comparison of radiative and physiological effects of doubled atmospheric CO2 on climate. Science 271, 1402–1406 (1996).
This study was funded by the H2020 CRESCENDO grant (no. 641816), the ERC IMBALANCE-P synergy grant (no. 610028) and the MTES/FRB Acidoscope project. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP). For CMIP, the US Department of Energy’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison provided coordinating support and led the development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals. To analyse the CMIP5 data, this study benefited from the IPSL Prodiguer-Ciclad facility, which is supported by the National Centre for Scientific Research, the University of Pierre et Marie Curie and Labex L-IPSL, which is funded by the French National Research Agency (no. ANR-10-LABX-0018) and by the European FP7 IS-ENES2 project (no. 312979). We thank B. Le Vu for preliminary discussions.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims inpublished maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Kwiatkowski, L., Orr, J. Diverging seasonal extremes for ocean acidification during the twenty-first century. Nature Clim Change 8, 141–145 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-017-0054-0
Scientific Reports (2021)
Scientific Reports (2021)
Ocean Acidification Amplifies the Olfactory Response to 2-Phenylethylamine: Altered Cue Reception as a Mechanistic Pathway?
Journal of Chemical Ecology (2021)
Scientific Reports (2021)