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Surface ocean pH variations since 1689 CE and recent ocean acidification in the tropical South Pacific

Henry C. Wu 1, 2 Delphine Dissard 3, 2 Eric Douville 1, 4 Dominique Blamart 1, 5 Louise Bordier 1, 6 Aline Tribollet 7, 2 Florence Le Cornec 3, 2 Edwige Pons-Branchu 1, 4 Arnaud Dapoigny 1, 4 Claire E. Lazareth 3, 2
3 VALCO - Variabilité à long terme du climat de l'océan
LOCEAN - Laboratoire d'Océanographie et du Climat : Expérimentations et Approches Numériques
4 GEOTRAC - Géochrononologie Traceurs Archéométrie
LSCE - Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement [Gif-sur-Yvette] : DRF/LSCE
5 PALEOCEAN - Paléocéanographie
LSCE - Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement [Gif-sur-Yvette] : DRF/LSCE
6 GEDI - Géochimie Des Impacts
LSCE - Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement [Gif-sur-Yvette] : DRF/LSCE
7 CYBIOM - Cycles biogéochimiques marins : processus et perturbations
LOCEAN - Laboratoire d'Océanographie et du Climat : Expérimentations et Approches Numériques
Abstract : Increasing atmospheric CO$_2$ from man-made climate change is reducing surface ocean pH. Due to limited instrumental measurements and historical pH records in the world's oceans, seawater pH variability at the decadal and centennial scale remains largely unknown and requires documentation. Here we present evidence of striking secular trends of decreasing pH since the late nineteenth century with pronounced interannual to decadal–interdecadal pH variability in the South Pacific Ocean from 1689 to 2011 CE. High-amplitude oceanic pH changes, likely related to atmospheric CO$_2$ uptake and seawater dissolved inorganic carbon fluctuations, reveal a coupled relationship to sea surface temperature variations and highlight the marked influence of El Niño/Southern Oscillation and Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation. We suggest changing surface winds strength and zonal advection processes as the main drivers responsible for regional pH variability up to 1881 CE, followed by the prominent role of anthropogenic CO$_2$ in accelerating the process of ocean acidification.
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Henry C. Wu, Delphine Dissard, Eric Douville, Dominique Blamart, Louise Bordier, et al.. Surface ocean pH variations since 1689 CE and recent ocean acidification in the tropical South Pacific. Nature Communications, Nature Publishing Group, 2018, 9, pp.2543. ⟨10.1038/s41467-018-04922-1⟩. ⟨hal-01839951⟩

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