Mediterranean Sea oceanography and carbonate system
Like in the global ocean, as the anthropogenic CO2 penetrates the Mediterranean waters, CO2-driven shifts in the carbonate chemical equilibria occur and seawater pH decreases. The MedSeA project quantifies the rate of pH decrease in the Mediterranean water masses and ultimately provide maps to identify sectors of the Mediterranean Sea that are currently most affected by pH changes. Over the last decade or so, there have been a few oceanographic cruises that attempted to improve understanding of the Mediterranean Sea carbon cycle.
Understanding the current and future dynamics and vulnerability of the Mediterranean marine carbonate system, however, requires the knowledge of long-term natural variability of the basin. This task can be achieved by providing proxy-based reconstructions of seawater pH, carbonate ion concentrations, and pCO2 along with the response of the marine calcifiers during key intervals of the Late Quaternary. These intervals are taken to represent discrete background states in the functioning of the basin or of the climate system in general
- Determine the relative contribution of the physical, chemical and biological processes on the dynamics of the carbonate system in the Mediterranean Sea.
- Assess the impact(s) on carbonate system variables of (a) past (>103 years ago), recent (102 to 101 years ago), and ongoing changes in the Mediterranean Sea’s water mass circulation; (b) anthropogenic CO2 forcing (i.e., industrial era) and much older changes in the atmospheric CO2 levels over a range of time scales (i.e., glacial to interglacial)
- Quantify the present and future penetration of anthropogenic carbon in the Mediterranean Sea and the associated pH variations.
- Identify the areas of the Mediterranean Sea vulnerable to OA (based on modern and selected past interval observations)