Articles | Volume 14, issue 17
Research article
31 Aug 2017
Research article |  | 31 Aug 2017

Changes in the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the Mauritanian–Cap Vert upwelling region between 2005 and 2012

Melchor González-Dávila, J. Magdalena Santana Casiano, and Francisco Machín

Abstract. Coastal upwellings along the eastern margins of major ocean basins represent regions of large ecological and economic importance due to the high biological productivity. The role of these regions for the global carbon cycle makes them essential in addressing climate change. The physical forcing of upwelling processes that favor production in these areas are already being affected by global warming, which will modify the intensity of upwelling and, consequently, the carbon dioxide cycle. Here, we present monthly high-resolution surface experimental data for temperature and partial pressure of carbon dioxide in one of the four most important upwelling regions of the planet, the Mauritanian–Cap Vert upwelling region, from 2005 to 2012. This data set provides direct evidence of seasonal and interannual changes in the physical and biochemical processes. Specifically, we show an upwelling intensification and an increase of 0.6 Tg yr−1 in CO2 outgassing due to increased wind speed, despite increased primary productivity. This increase in CO2 outgassing together with the observed decrease in sea surface temperature at the location of the Mauritanian Cap Blanc, 21° N, produced a pH rate decrease of −0.003 ± 0.001 yr−1.

Short summary
The Mauritanian–Cap Vert upwelling is shown to be sensitive to climate change forcing on upwelling processes, which strongly affects the CO2 surface distribution, ocean acidification rates, and air–sea CO2 exchange. We confirmed an upwelling intensification, an increase in the CO2 outgassing, and an important decrease in the pH of the surface waters. Upwelling areas are poorly studied and VOS lines are shown as one of the most significant contributors to our knowledge of the ocean's response.
Final-revised paper