Browsing by Organization "Helsingin yliopisto, bio- ja ympäristötieteellinen tiedekunta, bio- ja ympäristötieteiden laitos, akvaattiset tieteet"

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  • Joensuu, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most significant greenhouse gas produced by mankind. The oceans play a significant role in the global carbon cycle. Due to its restricted size the Baltic Sea doesn’t play an important role as a global reservoir. However, due to its large annual fluctuations, alternations in salinity in the different basins, and a wide drainage-basin with varying soil, it is an excellent study system. The aim of this research was to examine both the vertical and the horizontal distributions of the components of the inorganic carbon in the Baltic Sea, their interactions and annual fluctuations. In addition, the long-term alterations of the surface water pH were reviewed. The study was performed at the Finnish Meteorological Institute as a part of an international research programme regarding the Baltic Sea (BONUS: Baltic-C). The total alkalinity in the Baltic Sea was found to be determined mainly by salinity. Surface water alkalinity is controlled by mixing of highly saline waters originating in the North Sea and waters of low salinity from the rivers draining into the Baltic Sea. The amount of total alkalinity entering the Baltic Sea through the rivers is dependent on the soilquality in the catchment area. According to the alkalinity-salinity-relation, the Baltic Sea can be divided into four distinguishable basins. The alkalinity is lowest in the Bothnian Bay and grows towards the Kattegat as a function of salinity. Salinity controls alkalinity, which together with biological activity controls the consentration of total inorganic carbon. The distribution of total inorganic carbon is very similar to that of total alkalinity. The results in this study support earlier findings on total inorganic carbon and total alkalinity in the Baltic Sea. As the atmospheric partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) rises, the partial pressure in the surface waters rises as well. In addition to the concentration of total inorganic carbon, the biological activity has a great impact on the annual fluctuations of pCO2. The primary production forms the basis of the biological uptake of carbon dioxide in the surface waters. The results indicate that the Baltic Sea fluctuates from being a source to being a sink for atmospheric CO2 according to the annual fluctuations in primary production. However, simultaneous measurements on the atmospheric pCO2 are needed to ascertain the assumptions on the direction of CO2 flux between the sea and the atmosphere. The rise of the pCO2 in water leads to descending pH levels, because of a relative shift in the components of total inorganic carbon. The results indicate a slight decreasing trend in pH levels In the Baltic Sea during the 30-year observation period, however more research on the subject is needed. The reliability of pCO2-values calculated from known parameters was estimated by comparing them to the measured values. The study shows that pCO2 results for the Baltic Sea derived from the program developed for the oceans, should be used with caution.