Carbon is an integral component of marine ecosystems and key living resources in the ocean are profoundly affected by changes in the uptake of CO2 by the ocean, which is the key driver of ocean acidification. Measurements of carbon in Irish waters have been conducted in recent years with CO2 monitoring using sensors and sample collection aboard the two Irish research vessels and at a fixed station in Co. Galway (Mace Head). Dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and total alkalinity (TA) are key seawaters measurements that together are used to calculate the inorganic carbon system - an essential climate/ocean variable. These measurements allow determination of accurate pH in seawater and thus are core methods for evaluation of ocean acidification. Water samples for subsequent lab-based DIC and TA testing are routinely collected and preserved during annual multi-disciplinary climate and environmental ship based surveys, such as the Rockall Ocean Climate Survey, Winter Environmental Survey and during regular sampling at coastal observation platforms such as the Mace Head Coastal Observatory. Analysis is highly specialised with limited laboratories internationally having competency. With national capacity currently severely limited in Ireland for this testing there is a back-log of unanalysed samples already collected that are approaching their expiration.
This project will outsource analyses of water samples collected for DIC/ TA and collation of the data into the national database at the Marine Institute (MI). This will facilitate an assessment of ocean acidification indicator on shelf and in deep waters and the reporting of Irish data to meet national reporting obligations including, under UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.3 (indicator 14.3.1 Average marine acidity (pH) measured at agreed suite of representative sampling stations).
Specifically, the project will:
Undertake testing of outstanding seawater samples for DIC and TA clearing the backlog of samples.
Collate and undertake a QC assessment and flagging of results and compile the data into national MI Water Database where it is merged with other relevant parameters.
Support reporting of data to international regional and global data products and activities, in particular IOC to meet reporting requirements under UN SDG 14.3, GLODAP and ICES. Data from these tools are widely used for regional and global climate assessments.
Review the data for trends in ocean acidification parameters.
1. Expanded Quality assessed dataset of ocean acidification parameters for Irish waters.
2. Contribution to national reporting under UN SDG 14.3.1 and to GLODAP.
3. Report detailing the trends in ocean carbon parameters in Irish waters in recent years.