10 Oct 2023
 | 10 Oct 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Reviews and syntheses: Abrupt ocean biogeochemical change under human-made climatic forcing – warming, acidification, and deoxygenation

Christoph Heinze, Thorsten Blenckner, Peter Brown, Friederike Fröb, Anne Morée, Adrian L. New, Cara Nissen, Stefanie Rynders, Isabel Seguro, Yevgeny Aksenov, Yuri Artioli, Timothée Bourgeois, Friedrich Burger, Jonathan Buzan, B. B. Cael, Veli Çağlar Yumruktepe, Melissa Chierici, Christopher Danek, Ulf Dieckmann, Agneta Fransson, Thomas Frölicher, Giovanni Galli, Marion Gehlen, Aridane G. González, Melchor Gonzalez-Davila, Nicolas Gruber, Örjan Gustafsson, Judith Hauck, Mikko Heino, Stephanie Henson, Jenny Hieronymus, I. Emma Huertas, Fatma Jebri, Aurich Jeltsch-Thömmes, Fortunat Joos, Jaideep Joshi, Stephen Kelly, Nandini Menon, Precious Mongwe, Laurent Oziel, Sólveig Ólafsdottir, Julien Palmieri, Fiz F. Pérez, Rajamohanan Pillai Ranith, Juliano Ramanantsoa, Tilla Roy, Dagmara Rusiecka, J. Magdalena Santana Casiano, Yeray Santana-Falcón, Jörg Schwinger, Roland Séférian, Miriam Seifert, Anna Shchiptsova, Bablu Sinha, Christopher Somes, Reiner Steinfeldt, Dandan Tao, Jerry Tjiputra, Adam Ulfsbo, Christoph Völker, Tsuyoshi Wakamatsu, and Ying Ye

Abstract. Abrupt changes in ocean biogeochemical variables occur as a result of human-induced climate forcing as well as those which are more gradual and occur over longer timescales. These abrupt changes have not yet been identified and quantified to the same extent as the more gradual ones. We review and synthesise abrupt changes in ocean biogeochemistry under human-induced climatic forcing. We specifically address the ocean carbon and oxygen cycles because the related processes of acidification and deoxygenation provide important ecosystem hazards. Since biogeochemical cycles depend also on the physical environment, we also describe the relevant changes in warming, circulation, and sea ice. We include an overview of the reversibility or irreversibility of abrupt marine biogeochemical changes. Important implications of abrupt biogeochemical changes for ecosystems are also discussed. We conclude that there is evidence for increasing occurrence and extent of abrupt changes in ocean biogeochemistry as a consequence of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Christoph Heinze et al.

Status: open (until 21 Dec 2023)

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Christoph Heinze et al.

Christoph Heinze et al.


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Short summary
For assessing the consequences of human-induced climate change for the marine realm, it is necessary to not only look at gradual changes but also at abrupt changes of environmental conditions. We summarise abrupt changes in ocean warming, acidification, and oxygen concentration as the key environmental factors for ecosystems. Taking these abrupt changes into account requires greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to a larger extent than previously thought to limit respective damage.