Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1836
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1836
25 Jun 2024
 | 25 Jun 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Long-term variations of pH in coastal waters along the Korean Peninsula

Yong-Woo Lee, Mi-Ok Park, Seong-Gil Kim, Tae-Hoon Kim, Yong-Hwa Oh, Sang Heun Lee, and Dong Joo Joung

Abstract. The decreasing seawater pH trend associated with rising atmospheric CO2 levels adversely affects marine organisms and ecosystems, posing significant concerns for coastal fisheries and economies. Despite this, long-term pH variation in coastal waters remains poorly understood. This study investigates pH variability in the coastal waters of Korea over 11 years (2010–2020) and identifies the principal drivers of pH fluctuations. Unlike the persistent pH decline observed in open oceans and other coastal systems, Korean coastal waters showed no significant pH variation, suggesting local biogeochemical processes may exert a greater influence than atmospheric CO2. Analysis of environmental data (temperature, salinity, chlorophyll a, and dissolved oxygen (DO)) revealed a strong correlation between pH and DO. However, instances of pH changes exceeding those predicted by DO depletion indicate additional biogeochemical factors at play. As global seawater warms, reduced dissolved gases, including oxygen, are expected to cause further pH decline in coastal waters. This trend could critically impact Korean coastal waters, which support extensive aquaculture operations integral to the local and national economy. Therefore, high-frequency monitoring is essential to extend current time series and predict future water quality.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Yong-Woo Lee, Mi-Ok Park, Seong-Gil Kim, Tae-Hoon Kim, Yong-Hwa Oh, Sang Heun Lee, and Dong Joo Joung

Status: open (until 06 Aug 2024)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-1836', Anonymous Referee #1, 22 Jul 2024 reply
Yong-Woo Lee, Mi-Ok Park, Seong-Gil Kim, Tae-Hoon Kim, Yong-Hwa Oh, Sang Heun Lee, and Dong Joo Joung
Yong-Woo Lee, Mi-Ok Park, Seong-Gil Kim, Tae-Hoon Kim, Yong-Hwa Oh, Sang Heun Lee, and Dong Joo Joung

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Short summary
A long-term pH variation in coastal waters along the Korean peninsula was assessed for the first time, and it exhibited no significant pH change over an 11-year period. This contrasts with the ongoing pH decline in open oceans and other coastal areas. Analysis of environmental data showed that pH is mainly controlled by dissolved oxygen in bottom waters. This suggests that ocean warming could cause a pH decline in Korean coastal waters, affecting many fish and seaweeds aquaculture operations.