Variations in the Alkalinity of Seawater in Coastal Waters of Oahu, Hawaii

Friday, 19 December 2014
Sami Li Chen, Eric Heinen De Carlo, Patrick S Drupp, Gerianne Terlouw, Michael Guidry, Fred T Mackenzie and Robert Thompson, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, United States
Total alkalinity (AT) is an important component of the marine inorganic carbon system that, together with one of the other measurable parameters (i.e., pH, dissolved inorganic carbon-CT , pCO2) allows us to calculate the entire CO2-carbonic acid system. By measuring AT continuously at several coastal locations on coral reefs of Oahu, we can calculate a current rate of change in surface water conditions with respect to biogeochemical processes as well as the globally important issue of ocean acidification (OA). Previous work by Drupp et al (2011, 2013) has shown that parameters of the CO2-carbonic acid system display seasonal fluctuations as well as respond to short term rainfall events. This work expands the period of study through July 2014. The three sampling locations are vastly different in geographic and geochemical conditions. Kaneohe Bay is a protected embayment, with large freshwater inputs and long water residence time compared to the nearshore exposed waters at Kilo Nalu and Ala Wai. Variation in coral reef environments affect AT, thus making it crucial to sample multiple environments over an extended period of time to reveal changes in biogeochemistry. A typical sample from Kaneohe Bay (CRIMP-2) can be expected to have a AT value between 2134 umol/kg and 2279 umol/kg, Kilo Nalu: between 2263 umol/kg and 2350 umol/kg, Ala Wai: between 2263 umol/kg and 2335 umol/kg. In general, total alkalinity values from CRIMP-2 are lower than at Kilo Nalu or Ala Wai due to differences in coral reef environments. Our long-term record allows us to compare the behavior of Hawaiian reef waters to those of other tropical marine ecosystems. Furthermore, monitoring of AT over extended multiple years and multiple locations is essential to develop the time-series data necessary for continued evaluation of the impact of OA on coral reefs of the Hawaiian Islands.