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Late winter-to-summer change in ocean acidification state in Kongsfjorden, with implications for calcifying organisms

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Abstract

Late winter-to-summer changes (April to July) in ocean acidification state, calcium carbonate (CaCO3) saturation for aragonite (Ω a) and calcite (Ω c) and biogeochemical properties were investigated in 2013 and 2014 in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard. We investigated physical (salinity, temperature) and chemical (carbonate system, nutrient) properties in the water column from the glacier front in the fjord to the west Spitsbergen shelf. The average range of Ω a in the upper 50 m in the fjord in winter was 1.59–1.74 and in summer 1.65–2.66. The lowest Ω a (1.5) was close to the reported critical threshold for aragonite-forming organisms such as the pteropod Limacina helicina. In summer 2013, Ω a, pHT and salinity were generally lower than in 2014 as a result of a larger influence of high-CO2 water from the coastal current and less Atlantic water. The inner fjord was influenced by glacial water in summer which decreased Ω a by 0.7. Biological CO2 consumption based on a winter-to summer decrease in nitrate was larger in 2014 than in 2013, suggesting more primary production in 2014. The influence of freshwater decreased Ω a by the same amount as the biological effect increased Ω a. The seasonal increase in temperature only played a minor role on the increase of Ω a. The biological effect showed more inter-annual variability than the effect of freshwater. Based on this study, we suggest that changes in the inflow of different water masses and freshwater directly influence ocean acidification state, but also indirectly affect the biological drivers of carbonate chemistry in the fjord.

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The data from Tempelfjorden is adapted from Fransson et al. (2015)

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Acknowledgments

This is a project within the flagship research program “Ocean acidification and ecosystem effects in Northern waters” at the Fram Centre, and MOSJ (Monitoring of Svalbard), and we thank the Ministry of Climate and Environment and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Norway, for financial support. Data will be stored at the Norwegian Polar Institute data archive and be available within 1 year after publication. Metadata will also be available at RiS portal at www.researchinsvalbard.no within 1 year after publication; until then contact the corresponding author. We gratefully thank the captain and crew on RV Lance for valuable support and assistance and all students or researchers who helped with water sampling. We gratefully thank Malcolm Woodward for the nutrient analyses (April 2014). We are also grateful for the support, boat logistics and safety training at the Norwegian Polar Institute logistics in Ny-Ålesund. We thank Michael Greenacre and three anonymous reviewers for valuable comments for improving the manuscript.

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Correspondence to A. Fransson.

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This article belongs to the special issue on the “Kongsfjorden ecosystem—new views after more than a decade of research,” coordinated by Christian Wiencke and Haakon Hop.

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Fransson, A., Chierici, M., Hop, H. et al. Late winter-to-summer change in ocean acidification state in Kongsfjorden, with implications for calcifying organisms. Polar Biol 39, 1841–1857 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-016-1955-5

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