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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-358
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-358
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  09 Oct 2020

09 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

The Seasonal Phases of an Arctic Lagoon Reveal Non-linear pH Extremes

Cale A. Miller1,3, Christina Bonsell2, Nathan D. McTigue2, and Amanda L. Kelley3 Cale A. Miller et al.
  • 1Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA, USA, 95616
  • 2Marine Science Institute, The University of Texas at Austin, Port Aransas, TX, USA, 78373
  • 3College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA, 99775

Abstract. The western Arctic Ocean, including its shelves and coastal habitats, has become a focus in ocean acidification research over the past decade as the colder waters of the region and the reduction of sea ice appear to promote the uptake of excess atmospheric CO2. Due to seasonal sea ice coverage, high-frequency monitoring of pH or other carbonate chemistry parameters is typically limited to infrequent ship-based transects during ice-free summers. This approach has failed to capture year-round nearshore carbonate chemistry dynamics which is modulated by biological metabolism in response to abundant allochthonous organic matter to the narrow shelf of the Beaufort Sea and adjacent regions. The coastline of the Beaufort Sea comprises a series of lagoons that account for > 50 % of the land-sea interface. The lagoon ecosystems are novel features that cycle between open and closed phases (i.e., ice-free, and ice covered, respectively). In this study, we collected high-frequency pH, salinity, temperature, and PAR measurements in association with the Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystem LTER for an entire calendar year in Kaktovik Lagoon, Alaska, USA, capturing two open water phases and one closed phase. Hourly pH variability during the open water phases are some of the fastest rates reported, exceeding 0.4 units. Baseline pH varied substantially between open phase 2018 and open phase 2019 with a difference of ~ 0.2 units despite similar hourly rates of change. Salinity-pH relationships were mixed during all three phases displaying no correlation in open 2018, a negative correlation in closed 2018–2019, and positive correlation during open 2019. The high-frequency of pH variability could partially be explained by photosynthesis-respiration cycles as correlation coefficients between daily average pH and PAR were 0.46 and 0.64 for open 2018 and open 2019 phases, respectively. The estimated annual daily average CO2 efflux was 5.9 ± 19.3 mmol m−2 d−1, which is converse to the negative influx of CO2 estimated for the coastal Beaufort Sea despite exhibiting extreme variability. Considering the geomorphic differences in Beaufort Sea lagoons, further investigation is needed to assess if there are periods of the open phase in which all lagoons are sources of carbon to the atmosphere, potentially offsetting the predicted sink capacity of the greater Beaufort Sea.

Cale A. Miller et al.

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Cale A. Miller et al.

Data sets

Circulation dynamics: currents, waves, temperature measurements from moorings in lagoon sites along the Alaska Beaufort Sea coast, 2018-ongoing ver 2. Environmental Data Initiative Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystems LTER and J. Kasper https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/3475cdbb160a9f844aa5ede627c5f6fe

Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) time series from lagoon sites along the Alaska Beaufort Sea coast, 2018-ongoing ver 1. Environmental Data Initiative Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystems LTER, Core Program https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/ced2cedd430d430d9149b9d7f1919729

physicochemical water column parameters and hydrographic time series from river, lagoon, and open ocean sites along the Alaska Beaufort Sea coast, 2018-ongoing ver 1. Environmental Data Initiative Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystems LTER, Core Program https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/e0e71c2d59bf7b08928061f546be6a9a

Time series of water column pH from lagoon sites along the Alaska Beaufort Sea coast, 2018-ongoing ver 1. Environmental Data Initiative Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystems LTER, Core Program https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/9305328d0f1ed28fbb2d7cf56c686786

Cale A. Miller et al.

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Short summary
We report here the first year-long high-frequency pH data set for an Arctic lagoon that captures ice-free and ice-covered seasons. pH and salinity correlation varies by year as we observed positive correlation and independence. Photosynthesis is found to drive high pH values, and small changes in underwater solar radiation can result in rapid decreases in pH. We estimate that arctic lagoons may act as sources of CO2 to the atmosphere, potentially offsetting the arctic ocean's CO2 sink capacity.
We report here the first year-long high-frequency pH data set for an Arctic lagoon that captures...
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