Chemical characterization of the Punta de Fuencaliente CO 2-enriched system (La Palma, NE Atlantic Ocean): a new natural laboratory for ocean acidification studies

González-Delgado, Sara; González-Santana, David; Santana-Casiano, Magdalena; González-Dávila, Melchor; Hernández, Celso A.; Sangil, Carlos; Hernández, José Carlos

We present a new natural carbon dioxide (COinline-formula2) system located off the southern coast of the island of La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain). Like COinline-formula2 seeps, these COinline-formula2 submarine groundwater discharges (SGDs) can be used as an analogue to study the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on the marine realm. With this aim, we present the chemical characterization of the area, describing the carbon system dynamics, by measuring pH, inline-formulaAT and inline-formulaCT and calculating inline-formulaΩ aragonite and calcite. Our explorations of the area have found several emission points with similar chemical features. Here, the inline-formulaCT varies from 2120.10 to 10 784.84 inline-formulaµmol kginline-formula−1, inline-formulaAT from 2415.20 to 10 817.12 inline-formulaµmol kginline-formula−1, pH from 7.12 to 8.07, inline-formulaΩ aragonite from 0.71 to 4.15 and inline-formulaΩ calcite from 1.09 to 6.49 units. Also, the COinline-formula2 emission flux varies between 2.8 and 28 kg COinline-formula2 dinline-formula−1, becoming a significant source of carbon. These COinline-formula2 emissions, which are of volcanic origin, acidify the brackish groundwater that is discharged to the coast and alter the local seawater chemistry. Although this kind of acidified system is not a perfect image of future oceans, this area of La Palma is an exceptional spot to perform studies aimed at understanding the effect of different levels of OA on the functioning of marine ecosystems. These studies can then be used to comprehend how life has persisted through past eras, with higher atmospheric COinline-formula2, or to predict the consequences of present fossil fuel usage on the marine ecosystem of the future oceans.

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González-Delgado, Sara / González-Santana, David / Santana-Casiano, Magdalena / et al: Chemical characterization of the Punta de Fuencaliente CO2-enriched system (La Palma, NE Atlantic Ocean): a new natural laboratory for ocean acidification studies. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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