The CO 2 system in the Mediterranean Sea: a basin wide perspective
The Mediterranean Sea (MedSea) is considered a "laboratory basin" being an ocean in miniature, suffering dramatic changes in its oceanographic and biogeochemical conditions derived from natural and anthropogenic forces. Moreover, the MedSea is prone to absorb and store anthropogenic carbon due to the particular CO
2 chemistry and the active overturning circulation. Despite this, water column CO
2 measurements covering the whole basin are scarce. This work aims to be a base-line for future studies about the CO
2 system space-time variability in the MedSea combining historic and modern CO
2 cruises in the whole area. Here we provide an extensive vertical and longitudinal description of the CO
2 system variables (total alkalinity – TA, dissolved inorganic carbon – DIC and pH) along an East-West transect and across the Sardinia-Sicily passage in the MedSea from two oceanographic cruises conducted in 2011 measuring CO
2 variables in a coordinated fashion, the RV Meteor M84/3 and the RV Urania EuroFleets 11, respectively. In this sense, we provide full-depth and length CO
2 distributions across the MedSea, and property-property plots showing in each sub-basin post-Eastern Mediterranean Transient (EMT) situation with regard to TA, DIC and pH.
The over-determined CO 2 system in 2011 allowed performing the first internal consistency analysis for the particularly warm, high salinity and alkalinity MedSea waters. The CO 2 constants by Mehrbach et al. (1973) refitted by Dickson and Millero (1987) are recommended. The sensitivity of the CO 2 system to the atmospheric CO 2 increase, DIC and/or TA changes is evaluated by means of the Revelle and buffer factors.