Articles | Volume 18, issue 4
Technical note
24 Feb 2021
Technical note |  | 24 Feb 2021

Technical note: Interpreting pH changes

Andrea J. Fassbender, James C. Orr, and Andrew G. Dickson


Interactive discussion

Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Peer-review completion

AR: Author's response | RR: Referee report | ED: Editor decision
ED: Publish subject to minor revisions (review by editor) (02 Jan 2021) by Peter Landschützer
AR by Andrea Fassbender on behalf of the Authors (05 Jan 2021)  Author's response    Author's tracked changes    Manuscript
ED: Publish as is (14 Jan 2021) by Peter Landschützer
Short summary
A decline in upper-ocean pH with time is typically ascribed to ocean acidification. A more quantitative interpretation is often confused by failing to recognize the implications of pH being a logarithmic transform of hydrogen ion concentration rather than an absolute measure. This can lead to an unwitting misinterpretation of pH data. We provide three real-world examples illustrating this and recommend the reporting of both hydrogen ion concentration and pH in studies of ocean chemical change.
Final-revised paper