Predicting carbonate chemistry on the Northwest Atlantic shelf using neural networks

The Northwest Atlantic Shelf (NAS) region has experienced accelerated warming, heatwaves, and is susceptible to ocean acidification, yet also suffers from a paucity of carbonate chemistry observations, particularly at depth. We address this critical data gap by developing three different neural network models to predict dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and total alkalinity (TA) in the NAS region from more readily available hydrographic and satellite data. The models predicted DIC with r2 between 0.913 – 0.963 and root mean square errors (RMSE) between 15.4 – 23.7 (µmol kg-1) and TA with r2 between 0.986 – 0.983 and RMSE between 9.0 – 10.4 (µmol kg-1) on an unseen test data set that was not used in training the models. Cross-validation analysis revealed that all models were insensitive to the choice of training data and had good generalization performance on unseen data. Uncertainty in DIC and TA were low (coefficients of variation 0.1-1%). Compared with other predictive models of carbonate system variables in this region, a larger and more diverse dataset with full seasonal coverage and a more sophisticated model architecture resulted in a robust predictive model with higher accuracy and precision across all seasons. We used one of the models to generate a reconstructed seasonal distribution of carbonate chemistry fields based on DIC and TA predictions that shows a clear seasonal progression and large spatial gradients consistent with observations. The distinct models will allow for a range of applications based on the predictor variables available and will be useful to understand and address ocean sustainability challenges.

Lima I. D., Wang Z. A., Cameron L. P., Grabowski J. H. & Rheuban J. E., 2023. Predicting carbonate chemistry on the Northwest Atlantic shelf using neural networks. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 128: e2023JG007536. doi: 10.1029/2023JG007536. Article.

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