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St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > Ocean Acidification

Ocean Acidification

Polar Regions: The Arctic

Why study the Arctic Ocean?

ocean acidification
[larger version]

The Arctic Ocean, covering an area of over 14,056,000 km2, may be one of the world's oceans most vulnerable to climate change. With a fairly constant water temperature of 0C, the Arctic has the ability to absorb carbon dioxide more readily than warmer waters. Ocean acidification may be occurring faster at the poles than other climate regions for several reasons:

Our data from 2010 and 2011 cruises show large areas of the Canada Basin which are already undersaturated with respect to aragonite—a shell forming mineral important to growth and survival of important food web organisms, like pteropods.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is working with partners to measure baseline seawater chemistry of the Arctic Ocean and to improve understanding of ocean acidification in polar regions.

August 2012 Cruise

Back for a third time on the Healy, the USGS and USF scientists are returning to gather information to the west of the previous track lines, over the Chukchi Cap and into the Nautilus Basin. Follow us on this years' cruise where we are collecting:

Proposed track of the August 2012 cruise
Proposed track of the August 2012 cruise. [larger version]

August 2011 Cruise

The USGS and USF scientists returned to the Arctic in August 2011 to gather more baseline data- The Healy traveled even further north than the previous year—as far as the Makarov Basin (about 88° 44N). This expedition has provided a comparison of ice free water with that of 100% ice cover. Read more about the 2011 Arctic Cruise.

Trackline of August 2011 cruise.
Trackline of August 2011 cruise. [larger version]

August 2010 Cruise

In August 2010, USGS and University of South Florida (USF) researchers sampled the Canada Basin during the 2010 U.S.-Canada Extended Continental Shelf Survey research expedition on board the U.S. Coast Guard vessel Healy. Water samples included:

Preliminary data were presented at different symposia, with 3D views of the Canada Basin carbon parameters demonstrated on a tablet computer mounted to the posters. In particular, the data show the quality and high-resolution spatial information that this unique dataset provides.

Trackline of August 2010 cruise.
Trackline of August 2010 cruise.

Synoptic view of the dat
Synoptic view of the data shows a line over 9,400 km long; zooming into an area, data points taken every two minutes are revealed. [larger version]

Symposium participants stopped by to see the 3D model of Arctic ocean chemistry.
Symposium participants stopped by to see the 3D model of Arctic ocean chemistry. [larger version]



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