Drivers of coastal acidification in northern California Current estuaries

Stephen Pacella

Western Ecology Division

US Environmental Protection Agency

November 7, 2018
Pacific Forum—11:00 a.m.

The characteristic variability of coastal carbonate chemistry continues to provide significant hurdles for understanding coastal acidification dynamics. This talk addresses natural and anthropogenic carbon cycling interactions on diel, seasonal, and decadal time scales to estimate current and future acidification trajectories in estuary habitats typical of the northern California Current. Our results show that estuarine habitats are often poorly-buffered against increasing global atmospheric CO2 levels, resulting in accelerated changes of extreme carbonate weather and enhanced CO2 seasonality. Current and future acidification trajectories are significantly modulated by local biophysical processes, including net community metabolism and watershed chemistry. While these local processes control the variance of acidification trajectories amongst estuarine systems, the global atmospheric CO2 perturbation is likely the dominant anthropogenic driver of coastal acidification in these systems. Management for coastal acidification impacts will be more effective if the spatial and temporal interactions between local and global drivers of acidification are accounted for.

Next: November 28 — Itay Budin, University of California, Berkeley


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