Skillful multiyear predictions of ocean acidification in the California Current System (update)

The California Current System (CCS) sustains economically valuable fisheries and is particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification, due to its natural upwelling of carbon-enriched waters that generate corrosive conditions for local ecosystems. Here we use a novel suite of retrospective, initialized ensemble forecasts with an Earth system model (ESM) to predict the evolution of surface pH anomalies in the CCS. We show that the forecast system skillfully predicts observed surface pH variations a year in advance over a naive forecasting method, with the potential for skillful prediction up to five years in advance. Skillful predictions of surface pH are mainly derived from the initialization of dissolved inorganic carbon anomalies that are subsequently transported into the CCS. Our results demonstrate the potential for ESMs to provide skillful predictions of ocean acidification on large scales in the CCS. Initialized ESMs could also provide boundary conditions to improve high-resolution regional forecasting systems.

Brady R. X., Lovenduski N. S., Yeager S. G., Long M. C. & Lindsay K., 2020. Skillful multiyear predictions of ocean acidification in the California Current System. Nature Communications 11: 2166. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-15722-x. Article.

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