Blue Carbon and Marine Carbon Sequestration in Irish Waters and Coastal Habitats
blue carbon ecosystems
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AbstractAtmospheric CO2 is rising globally. Opportunities for reducing this trend include energy sector adjustments and management of both land and ocean resources. Improved management of coastal and oceanic ecosystems is therefore poised to contribute to, and enhance, climate mitigation and adaptation. This report outlines the emergence of blue carbon as a concept for the integration of coastal carbon dynamics into policy and management frameworks and defines blue carbon ecosystems. It also emphasises the importance of marine carbon sequestration and highlights its potential role in climate adaptation. Ireland is estimated to store at least 9.2 Mt of carbon in its saltmarsh and seagrass habitats, which cover an estimated minimum area of 162 km2. Estimates of carbon stocks in potential blue carbon ecosystems such as macroalgae beds are hampered by lack of data on extent, productivity and actual contribution. Irish coastal blue carbon ecosystems and their carbon sequestration capacity are currently threatened by anthropogenic factors such as land reclamation and poor water quality. The possibility of including saltmarsh and seagrass habitats in Ireland’s National Inventory Report on GHG emissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and including Ireland’s potential blue carbon ecosystems in Ireland’s Nationally Determined Contributions is highlighted. The critical knowledge gaps and future research priorities are outlined, so that Ireland can advance the pace of scientific discovery whilst harnessing the climate change potential of its coastal and marine environment.
CitationCott, G. M., Beca-Carretero, P. and Stengel, D. B. (2021). Blue Carbon and Marine Carbon Sequestration in Irish Waters and Coastal Habitats. Marine Institute, Ireland.
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Inorganic carbon and pH levels in the Rockall Trough 1991-2010McGrath, Triona; Kivimäe, Caroline; Tanhua, Toste; Cave, Rachel R.; McGovern, Evin (Elsevier, 2012)The accumulation of anthropogenic CO2 in the oceans is altering seawater carbonate chemistry. Investigation and monitoring of the carbonate parameters is therefore necessary to understand potential impacts on ocean ecosystems. Total alkalinity (AT) and dissolved inorganic carbon (CT) were sampled across the Rockall Trough in Feb 2009 (CE0903) and Feb 2010 (CE10002) as part of a baseline study of inorganic carbon chemistry in Irish shelf waters. The results have been compared with data from WOCE surveys A01E (Sept 1991), A01 (Dec 1994), AR24 (Nov 1996) and A24 (June 1997). The 2009 and 2010 datasets provide a snapshot of the biogeochemical parameters which can act as a baseline of inorganic carbon and acidity levels in surface waters of the Rockall Trough in late winter for future comparison since previous surveys in the area have been affected by biological activity. The dataset also offers the possibility to compare decadal changes in subsurface waters. The temporal evolution of anthropogenic carbon (D Cant) between the 1990s and 2010 was evaluated using two separate methods; (i) a comparison of the concentrations of CT between surveys, after correcting it for remineralisation of organic material and formation and dissolution of calcium carbonate (D CT-abio) and (ii) an extended Multiple Linear Regression was used to calculate the D Cant (D Cant eMLR). There was an increase in D CT-abio and D Cant eMLR of 1874 umol kg1 and1974 umol kg1, respectively, in the subsurface waters between 1991 and 2010, equivalent to a decrease of 0.0407± 0.003 pH units over the 19 year period. There was an increasein both D CT-abio and D Cant eMLR of 874 umol kg1 in Labrador Sea Water (LSW) in the Trough between 1991 and 2010, and LSW has acidified by 0.0297±0.002 pH units over the same time period. A reduction in calcite and aragonite saturation states was observed, which may have implications for calcifying organisms in the region.
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