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Abstract

Estuaries are among the most altered and vulnerable marine ecosystems. These ecosystems will likely continue to deteriorate owing to increased population growth in coastal regions, expected temperature and precipitation changes associated with climate change, and their interaction with each other, leading to serious consequences for the ecological and societal services they provide. A key function of estuaries is the transfer, transformation, and burial of carbon and other biogenic elements exchanged between the land and ocean systems. Climate change has the potential to influence the carbon cycle through anticipated changes to organic matter production in estuaries and through the alteration of carbon transformation and export processes. This review discusses the effects of climate change on processes influencing the cycling of organic carbon in estuaries, including examples from three temperate estuaries in North America. Our goal is to evaluate the impact of climate change on the connectivity of terrestrial, estuarine, and coastal ocean carbon cycles.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-earth-042711-105511
2012-05-30
2024-06-20
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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