Antarctic Waters: Warmer with More Acidity and Less Oxygen

Monday, Jan 6, 2020

The increased freshwater from melting Antarctic ice sheets plus increased wind has reduced the amount of oxygen in the Southern Ocean and made it more acidic and warmer, according to new research led by former AOS Visiting Postdoctoral Research Associate Benjamin Bronselaer

The researchers found Southern Ocean waters had changed by comparing shipboard measurements taken from 1990 to 2004 with measurements taken by a fleet of microsensor-equipped robot floats from 2012 to 2019. The observed oxygen loss and warming around the Antarctic coast is much larger than predicted by a climate model, which could have implications for predictions of ice melt.

Additional co-authors on the paper are former AOS Associate Research Scholar Joellen Russell (University of Arizona); Mike Winton and John Dunne (GFDL); Nancy L. Williams and Richard A. Feely (NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory); Bob Key and Jorge Sarmiento (AOS); and Ken Johnson (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute).  The paper was published today in Nature Geoscience.

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