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The Potential Impact of Nuclear Conflict on Ocean Acidification

journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-17, 22:55 authored by Nicole S Lovenduski, Cheryl S Harrison, Holly Olivarez, Charles Bardeen, Owen B Toon, Joshua Coupe, Alan Robock, Tyler RohrTyler Rohr, Samantha Stevenson
We demonstrate that the global cooling resulting from a range of nuclear conflict scenarios would temporarily increase the pH in the surface ocean by up to 0.06 units over a 5-year period, briefly alleviating the decline in pH associated with ocean acidification. Conversely, the global cooling dissolves atmospheric carbon into the upper ocean, driving a 0.1 to 0.3 unit decrease in the aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) that persists for ~ 10 years. The peak anomaly in pH occurs 2 years post conflict, while the Ωarag anomaly peaks 4- to 5-years post conflict. The decrease in Ωarag would exacerbate a primary threat of ocean acidification: the inability of marine calcifying organisms to maintain their shells/skeletons in a corrosive environment. Our results are based on sensitivity simulations conducted with a state-of-the-art Earth system model integrated under various black carbon (soot) external forcings. Our findings suggest that regional nuclear conflict may have ramifications for global ocean acidification.

History

Sub-type

  • Article

Publication title

GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS

Volume

47

Issue

3

Article number

ARTN e2019GL086246

Pagination

9

eISSN

1944-8007

ISSN

0094-8276

Publisher

AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION

Publication status

  • Published

Rights statement

Copyright 2020. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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