The CalCOFI group collects samples for the characterization of the inorganic carbon system at selected locations along the cruise track. Total inorganic carbon and alkalinity are measured which allows the calculation of pH and pCO2. The objectives of these measurements are: first, the long-term characterization of the inorganic carbon system and its response to changing ocean climate, and second, measurements of pH in the coastal zone in order to monitor the impact of 'corrosive' waters on benthic ecosystems in the Southern California Bight.
Scripps Oceanography is emerging as an international center of ocean acidification research. Late Scripps geochemist Charles David Keeling is best known for his famous record of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations known as the Keeling Curve, but he also started the first time series of ocean carbon dioxide content in 1983 near Bermuda. Scripps marine chemist Andrew Dickson established the reference standards that are used worldwide to ensure the uniform quality of carbon and alkalinity measurements in sewater. Such uniform, high-quality data has been key to helping scientists around the world recognize and understand the nature of ocean acidification.