How Can Present and Future Satellite Missions Support Scientific Studies that Address Ocean Acidification?

Salisbury, J.; Vandemark, D.; Jönsson, B.; Balch, W.; Chakraborty, S.; Lohrenz, S.; Chapron, B.; Hales, B.; Mannino, A.; Mathis, J.; Reul, N.; Signorini, S.; Wanninkhof, R.; Yates, K.

Oceanography 25(2): 108-121


ISSN/ISBN: 1042-8275
DOI: 10.5670/oceanog.2015.35
Accession: 068510321

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Space-based observations offer unique capabilities for studying spatial and temporal dynamics of the upper ocean inorganic carbon cycle and, in turn, supporting research tied to ocean acidification (OA). Satellite sensors measuring sea surface temperature, color, salinity, wind, waves, currents, and sea level enable a fuller understanding of a range of physical, chemical, and biological phenomena that drive regional Oa dynamics as well as the potentially varied impacts of carbon cycle change on a broad range of ecosystems. Here, we update and expand on previous work that addresses the benefits of space-based assets for Oa and carbonate system studies. Carbonate chemistry and the key processes controlling surface ocean Oa variability are reviewed. Synthesis of present satellite data streams and their utility in this arena are discussed, as are opportunities on the horizon for using new satellite sensors with increased spectral, temporal, and/or spatial resolution. We outline applications that include the ability to track the biochemically dynamic nature of water masses, to map coral reefs at higher resolution, to discern functional phytoplankton groups and their relationships to acid perturbations, and to track processes that contribute to acid variation near the land-ocean interface.