Blog Archive

Friday, April 3, 2009

J. Silverman et al., GRL, 36, Coral reefs may start dissolving when atmospheric CO2 doubles

Geophysical Research Letters, 36 (2009) L05606; doi:10.1029/2008GL036282

Coral reefs may start dissolving when atmospheric CO2 doubles

Jacob Silverman¹,², Boaz Lazar¹, Long Cao², Ken Caldeira² and Jonathan Erez¹

¹Institute of Earth Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

²Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution, Stanford, CA, USA


Calcification rates in stony corals are expected to decline significantly in the near future due to ocean acidification. In this study we provide a global estimate of the decline in calcification of coral reefs as a result of increase in sea surface temperature and partial pressure of CO2. This estimate, unlike previously reported estimates, is based on an empirical rate law developed from field observations for gross community calcification as a function of aragonite degree of saturation (Ωarag), sea surface temperature and live coral cover. Calcification rates were calculated for more than 9,000 reef locations using model values of Ωarag and sea surface temperature at different levels of atmospheric CO2. The maps we produced show that by the time atmospheric partial pressure of CO2 will reach 560 ppm all coral reefs will cease to grow and start to dissolve.

(Received 9 October 2008, accepted 27 January 2009, published 13 March 2009.)

Silverman, J., B. Lazar, L. Cao, K. Caldeira, & J. Erez (2009), Coral reefs may start dissolving when atmospheric CO2 doubles, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L05606; doi:10.1029/2008GL036282.

Link to abstract:

No comments: