• Open Access

Insignificant buffering capacity of Antarctic shelf carbonates


Corresponding author: J. Hauck, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Postfach 12 01 61, 27515 Bremerhaven, Germany.(judith.hauck@awi.de)


[1] We combined data sets of measured sedimentary calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and satellite-derived pelagic primary production to parameterize the relation between CaCO3 content on the Antarctic shelves and primary production in the overlying water column. CaCO3 content predicted in this way was in good agreement with the measured data. The parameterization was then used to chart CaCO3 content on the Antarctic shelves all around the Antarctic, using the satellite-derived primary production. The total inventory of CaCO3 in the bioturbated layer of Antarctic shelf sediments was estimated to be 0.5 Pg C. This quantity is comparable to the total CO2 uptake by the Southern Ocean in only one to a few years (dependent on the uptake estimate and area considered), indicating that the dissolution of these carbonates will neither delay ocean acidification in this area nor augment the Southern Ocean CO2 uptake capacity.