Quantification of the Dominant Drivers of Acidification in the Coastal Mid‐Atlantic Bight
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Quantification of the Dominant Drivers of Acidification in the Coastal Mid‐Atlantic Bight

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  • Journal Title:
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
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  • Description:
    In shallow coastal shelves like the Mid‐Atlantic Bight (MAB), ocean acidification due to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is compounded by highly variable coastal processes including riverine freshwater inputs, nutrient loading, biogeochemical influence, coastal currents and water mass mixing, and seasonal transitions in physical parameters. Past deconstructions of carbonate system drivers in the MAB have focused on nearshore zones or single season data, and thus lack the spatial and temporal resolution required to assess impacts to important species occupying the shelf. Deconstructing highly resolved data collected during four seasonal Slocum glider deployments in the MAB, this study uses a Taylor Series decomposition to quantify the influence of temperature, salinity, biogeochemical activity, and water mass mixing on pH and aragonite saturation state from sea surface to bottom. Results show that water mass mixing and biogeochemical activity were the most significant drivers of the carbonate system in the MAB. Nearshore water was more acidic year‐round due to riverine freshwater input, but photosynthesis reduced acidity at certain depths and times. Water mass mixing increased acidity in bottom water on the shelf, particularly in summer. Gulf Stream intrusions at the shelf break during fall acted to mitigate acidification on the shelf in habitats occupied by carbonate‐bearing organisms. The relationships quantified here can be used to improve biogeochemical forecast models and determine habitat suitability for commercially important fin and shellfish species residing in the MAB.
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    Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 127(11)
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  • ISSN:
    2169-9275;2169-9291;
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    CC BY-NC-ND
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    Library
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