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What controls primary production in the Arctic Ocean? Results from an intercomparison of five general circulation models with biogeochemistry

What controls primary production in the Arctic Ocean? Results from an intercomparison of five general circulation models with biogeochemistry
What controls primary production in the Arctic Ocean? Results from an intercomparison of five general circulation models with biogeochemistry
As a part of Arctic Ocean Intercomparison Project, results from five coupled physical and biological ocean models were compared for the Arctic domain, defined here as north of 66.6°N. The global and regional (Arctic Ocean (AO)–only) models included in the intercomparison show similar features in terms of the distribution of present-day water column–integrated primary production and are broadly in agreement with in situ and satellite-derived data. However, the physical factors controlling this distribution differ between the models. The intercomparison between models finds substantial variation in the depth of winter mixing, one of the main mechanisms supplying inorganic nutrients over the majority of the AO. Although all models manifest similar level of light limitation owing to general agreement on the ice distribution, the amount of nutrients available for plankton utilization is different between models. Thus the participating models disagree on a fundamental question: which factor, light or nutrients, controls present-day Arctic productivity. These differences between models may not be detrimental in determining present-day AO primary production since both light and nutrient limitation are tightly coupled to the presence of sea ice. Essentially, as long as at least one of the two limiting factors is reproduced correctly, simulated total primary production will be close to that observed. However, if the retreat of Arctic sea ice continues into the future as expected, a decoupling between sea ice and nutrient limitation will occur, and the predictive capabilities of the models may potentially diminish unless more effort is spent on verifying the mechanisms of nutrient supply. Our study once again emphasizes the importance of a realistic representation of ocean physics, in particular vertical mixing, as a necessary foundation for ecosystem modeling and predictions.
0148-0227
C00D12
Popova, Ekaterina E.
3ea572bd-f37d-4777-894b-b0d86f735820
Yool, Andrew
882aeb0d-dda0-405e-844c-65b68cce5017
Coward, Andrew C.
53b78140-2e65-476a-b287-e8384a65224b
Dupont, Frederic
519a1897-28c3-4be8-87fb-62191708c521
Deal, Clara
36a91d90-85e4-4b91-9024-d0dc148488b5
Elliott, Scott
b544b0be-8850-4d22-8f74-97f66809c127
Hunke, Elizabeth
f60ccbed-f646-4308-833e-177919519486
Jin, Meibing
addff87a-f8d8-4381-bc7d-c820ca02aec0
Steele, Mike
86470f9f-2b0c-4e51-b1fd-66395b0abb9d
Zhang, Jinlun
2fb9623a-24b6-4860-b909-86aac148d8ff
Popova, Ekaterina E.
3ea572bd-f37d-4777-894b-b0d86f735820
Yool, Andrew
882aeb0d-dda0-405e-844c-65b68cce5017
Coward, Andrew C.
53b78140-2e65-476a-b287-e8384a65224b
Dupont, Frederic
519a1897-28c3-4be8-87fb-62191708c521
Deal, Clara
36a91d90-85e4-4b91-9024-d0dc148488b5
Elliott, Scott
b544b0be-8850-4d22-8f74-97f66809c127
Hunke, Elizabeth
f60ccbed-f646-4308-833e-177919519486
Jin, Meibing
addff87a-f8d8-4381-bc7d-c820ca02aec0
Steele, Mike
86470f9f-2b0c-4e51-b1fd-66395b0abb9d
Zhang, Jinlun
2fb9623a-24b6-4860-b909-86aac148d8ff

Popova, Ekaterina E., Yool, Andrew, Coward, Andrew C., Dupont, Frederic, Deal, Clara, Elliott, Scott, Hunke, Elizabeth, Jin, Meibing, Steele, Mike and Zhang, Jinlun (2012) What controls primary production in the Arctic Ocean? Results from an intercomparison of five general circulation models with biogeochemistry. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117, C00D12. (doi:10.1029/2011JC007112).

Record type: Article

Abstract

As a part of Arctic Ocean Intercomparison Project, results from five coupled physical and biological ocean models were compared for the Arctic domain, defined here as north of 66.6°N. The global and regional (Arctic Ocean (AO)–only) models included in the intercomparison show similar features in terms of the distribution of present-day water column–integrated primary production and are broadly in agreement with in situ and satellite-derived data. However, the physical factors controlling this distribution differ between the models. The intercomparison between models finds substantial variation in the depth of winter mixing, one of the main mechanisms supplying inorganic nutrients over the majority of the AO. Although all models manifest similar level of light limitation owing to general agreement on the ice distribution, the amount of nutrients available for plankton utilization is different between models. Thus the participating models disagree on a fundamental question: which factor, light or nutrients, controls present-day Arctic productivity. These differences between models may not be detrimental in determining present-day AO primary production since both light and nutrient limitation are tightly coupled to the presence of sea ice. Essentially, as long as at least one of the two limiting factors is reproduced correctly, simulated total primary production will be close to that observed. However, if the retreat of Arctic sea ice continues into the future as expected, a decoupling between sea ice and nutrient limitation will occur, and the predictive capabilities of the models may potentially diminish unless more effort is spent on verifying the mechanisms of nutrient supply. Our study once again emphasizes the importance of a realistic representation of ocean physics, in particular vertical mixing, as a necessary foundation for ecosystem modeling and predictions.

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Published date: 2012
Organisations: Marine Systems Modelling

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Local EPrints ID: 333984
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/333984
ISSN: 0148-0227
PURE UUID: a4544034-4c97-4ee0-aa30-211019e03d6a

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Date deposited: 05 Mar 2012 11:56
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 06:12

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Contributors

Author: Ekaterina E. Popova
Author: Andrew Yool
Author: Andrew C. Coward
Author: Frederic Dupont
Author: Clara Deal
Author: Scott Elliott
Author: Elizabeth Hunke
Author: Meibing Jin
Author: Mike Steele
Author: Jinlun Zhang

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