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Modelling organic alkalinity in the Baltic Sea using a Humic-Pitzer approach

Journal article
Authors Adam Ulfsbo
Karol Kulinski
Leif G Anderson
David R. Turner
Published in Marine Chemistry
Volume 168
Pages 18-26
ISSN 0304-4203
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Pages 18-26
Language en
Keywords Alkalinity, Fulvic acid, Dissolved organic matter, Baltic Sea, WHAM
Subject categories Analytical Chemistry, Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


Significant excess alkalinity, of the order of 30 μmol kg− 1 and attributed to dissolved organic matter, has recently been measured in the Baltic Sea. Chemical speciation modelling shows that the measured excess alkalinity is consistent with an organic alkalinity derived from dissolved organic carbon, assuming that this dissolved organic carbon consists entirely of terrestrial humic substances. The contribution of polydisperse material such as humic substances to titration alkalinity invalidates the assumptions on which the current definition of titration alkalinity is based. It is therefore concluded that alkalinity should currently not be one of the parameters used to characterise the CO2 system in organic-rich waters. The use of a simple relationship to estimate organic alkalinity from the dissolved organic carbon concentration is assessed for the limited Baltic Sea data set currently available.

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