Modeling the marine aragonite cycle: changes under rising carbon dioxide and its role in shallow water CaCO3 dissolution

The marine aragonite cycle has been included in the global biogeochemical model PISCES to study the role of aragonite in shallow water CaCO3 dissolution. Aragonite production is parameterized as a function of mesozooplankton biomass and aragonite saturation state of ambient waters. Observation-based estimates of marine carbonate production and dissolution are well reproduced by the model and about 60% of the combined CaCO3 water column dissolution from aragonite and calcite is simulated above 2000 m. In contrast, a calcite-only version yields a much smaller fraction. This suggests that the aragonite cycle should be included in models for a realistic representation of CaCO3 dissolution and alkalinity. For the SRES A2 CO2 scenario, production rates of aragonite are projected to notably decrease after 2050. By the end of this century, global aragonite production is reduced by almost one third and total CaCO3 production by 19% relative to pre-industrial. Geographically, the effect from increasing atmospheric CO2, and the subsequent reduction in saturation state, is largest in the subpolar and polar areas where the modeled aragonite production is projected to decrease by 65% until 2100.

Gangstø, R., Gehlen, M., Schneider, B., Bopp, L., Aumont, O., and Joos, F., 2008. Modeling the marine aragonite cycle: changes under rising carbon dioxide and its role in shallow water CaCO3 dissolution, Biogeosciences, 5:1057-1072. Article.

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