Posts Tagged 'modeling'

The northern European shelf as an increasing net sink for CO2 (update)

We developed a simple method to refine existing open-ocean maps and extend them towards different coastal seas. Using a multi-linear regression we produced monthly maps of surface ocean fCO2 in the northern European coastal seas (the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Norwegian Coast and the Barents Sea) covering a time period from 1998 to 2016. A comparison with gridded Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) v5 data revealed mean biases and standard deviations of 0 ± 26 µatm in the North Sea, 0 ± 16 µatm along the Norwegian Coast, 0 ± 19 µatm in the Barents Sea and 2 ± 42 µatm in the Baltic Sea. We used these maps to investigate trends in fCO2, pH and air–sea CO2 flux. The surface ocean fCO2 trends are smaller than the atmospheric trend in most of the studied regions. The only exception to this is the western part of the North Sea, where sea surface fCO2 increases by 2 µatm yr−1, which is similar to the atmospheric trend. The Baltic Sea does not show a significant trend. Here, the variability was much larger than the expected trends. Consistently, the pH trends were smaller than expected for an increase in fCO2 in pace with the rise of atmospheric CO2 levels. The calculated air–sea CO2 fluxes revealed that most regions were net sinks for CO2. Only the southern North Sea and the Baltic Sea emitted CO2 to the atmosphere. Especially in the northern regions the sink strength increased during the studied period.

Continue reading ‘The northern European shelf as an increasing net sink for CO2 (update)’

Weekly reconstruction of pH and total alkalinity in an upwelling-dominated coastal ecosystem through neural networks (ATpH-NN): The case of Ría de Vigo (NW Spain) between 1992 and 2019

Short and long-term variability of seawater carbon dioxide (CO2) system shows large differences between different ecosystems which are derived from the characteristic processes of each area. The high variability of coastal ecosystems, their ecological and economic significance, the anthropogenic influence on them and their behavior as sources or sinks of atmospheric CO2, highlight the relevance to better understand the processes that underlie the variability and the alterations of the CO2 system at different spatiotemporal scales. To confidently achieve this purpose, it is necessary to have high-frequency data sustained over several years in different regions. In this work, we contribute to this need by configuring and training two neural networks with the capacity to model the weekly variability of pH and total alkalinity (AT) in the upper 50 m of the water column of the Ría de Vigo (NW Spain), with an error of 0.031 pH units and 10.9 µmol kg−1 respectively. With these networks, we generated weekly time series of pH and AT in seven locations of the Ría de Vigo in three depth ranges (0–5 m, 5–10 m and 10–15 m), which adequately represent independent discrete measurements. In a first analysis of the time series, a high short-term variability is observed, being larger for the inner stations of the Ría de Vigo. The lowest values of pH and AT were obtained for the inner zone, showing a progressive increase towards the outer/middle zone of the ría. The mean seasonal cycle also reflects the gradient between both zones, with a larger amplitude and variability for both variables in the inner zone. On the other hand, the long-term trends derived from the time series of pH show a higher acidification than that obtained for the open ocean, with surface trends ranging from −0.020 pH units per year in the outer/middle zone to −0.032 pH units per year in the inner zone. In addition, positive long-term trends of AT were obtained ranging from 0.39 µmol kg−1 per year in the outer/middle zone to 2.86 µmol kg−1 per year in the inner zone. The results presented in this study show the changing conditions both in the short and long-term variability as well as the spatial differentiation between the inner and outer/middle zone to which the organisms of the Ría de Vigo are subjected. The neural networks and the database provided in this study offer the opportunity to evaluate the CO2 system in an environment of high ecological and economic relevance, to validate high-resolution regional biogeochemical models and to evaluate the impacts on organisms of the Ría de Vigo by refining the ranges of the biogeochemical variables included in experiments.

Continue reading ‘Weekly reconstruction of pH and total alkalinity in an upwelling-dominated coastal ecosystem through neural networks (ATpH-NN): The case of Ría de Vigo (NW Spain) between 1992 and 2019’

Alkalinization scenarios in the Mediterranean Sea for efficient removal of atmospheric CO2 and the mitigation of ocean acidification

It is now widely recognised that in order to reach the target of limiting global warming below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels (as the objective of the Paris agreement) there is the need for development and implementation of active Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) strategies. Relatively few studies have assessed the mitigation capacity of ocean-based Negative Emission Technologies (NET) and the feasibility of their implementation on a larger scale to support efficient implementation strategies of CDR. This study investigates the case of marine alkalinisation, which has the additional potential of contrasting the ongoing acidification resulting from increased uptake of atmospheric CO2 by the seas. More specifically, we present an analysis of ocean alkalinisation applied to the Mediterranean Sea taking into consideration the regional characteristics of the basin. Rather than using idealised spatially homogenous scenarios of alkalinisation as done in previous studies, we use a set of numerical simulations of alkalinisation based on current shipping routes to quantitatively assess the alkalinisation efficiency via a coupled physical-biogeochemical model over the next decades. Simulations suggest the potential of nearly doubling the carbon-dioxide uptake rate of the Mediterranean Sea after 30 years of alkalinisation, and of neutralising the mean surface acidification trend of the baseline scenario without alkalinisation over the same time span. These levels are achieved via two different strategies: a first approach applying constant annual discharge of 200Mt Ca(OH)2 over the alkalinisation period and a second approach with gradually increasing discharge proportional to the surface pH trend of the baseline scenario reaching similar amounts of annual discharge by the end of the alkalinisation period. We demonstrate that via the latter approach it is possible to stabilise the mean surface pH at present day values and substantially increase the potential to counteract acidification relative to the alkalinity added while the carbon uptake efficiency is only marginally reduced. Nevertheless, significant local alterations of the surface pH persist, calling for an investigation of the physiological and ecological implications of the extent of these alterations to the carbonate system in the short to medium term in order to support a safe, sustainable application of this CDR implementation.

Continue reading ‘Alkalinization scenarios in the Mediterranean Sea for efficient removal of atmospheric CO2 and the mitigation of ocean acidification’

Biogeochemical timescales of climate change onset and recovery in the North Atlantic interior under rapid atmospheric CO2 forcing

Anthropogenic climate change footprints in the ocean go beyond the mixed layer depth, with considerable impacts throughout mesopelagic and deep-ocean ecosystems. Yet, little is known about the timing of these environmental changes, their spatial extent, and the associated timescales of recovery in the ocean interior when strong mitigation strategies are involved. Here, we simulate idealized rapid climate change and mitigation scenarios using the Norwegian Earth System Model (NorESM) to investigate timescales of climate change onset and recovery and the extent of change in the North Atlantic (NAtl) interior relative to Pre-industrial (PI) variability across a suite of environmental drivers (Temperature – T; pH; Dissolved Oxygen – DO; Apparent Oxygen Utilization – AOU; Export Production – EP; and Calcite saturation state – Ω<sub>c</sub>). We show that, below the subsurface domains, responses of these drivers are asymmetric and detached from the anthropogenic forcing with large spatial variations. Vast regions of the interior NAtl experience detectable anthropogenic signal significantly earlier and over a longer period than those projected for the subsurface. In contrast to surface domains, the NAtl interior remains largely warmer relative to PI (up to +50%) following the mitigation scenario, with anomalously lower EP, pH and Ω<sub>c</sub> (up to -20%) south of 30°N. Oxygenation in the upper mesopelagic of up to +20% is simulated, mainly driven by a decrease in consumption during remineralization. Our study highlights the need for long-term commitment focused on pelagic and deep-water ecosystem monitoring to fully understand the impact of anthropogenic climate change on the North Atlantic biogeochemistry.

Continue reading ‘Biogeochemical timescales of climate change onset and recovery in the North Atlantic interior under rapid atmospheric CO2 forcing’

Bottom trawling threatens future climate refugia of Rhodoliths globally

Climate driven range shifts are driving the redistribution of marine species and threatening the functioning and stability of marine ecosystems. For species that are the structural basis of marine ecosystems, such effects can be magnified into drastic loss of ecosystem functioning and resilience. Rhodoliths are unattached calcareous red algae that provide key complex three-dimensional habitats for highly diverse biological communities. These globally distributed biodiversity hotspots are increasingly threatened by ongoing environmental changes, mainly ocean acidification and warming, with wide negative impacts anticipated in the years to come. These are superimposed upon major local stressors caused by direct destructive impacts, such as bottom trawling, which act synergistically in the deterioration of the rhodolith ecosystem health and function. Anticipating the potential impacts of future environmental changes on the rhodolith biome may inform timely mitigation strategies integrating local effects of bottom trawling over vulnerable areas at global scales. This study aimed to identify future climate refugia, as regions where persistence is predicted under contrasting climate scenarios, and to analyze their trawling threat levels. This was approached by developing species distribution models with ecologically relevant environmental predictors, combined with the development of a global bottom trawling intensity index to identify heavily fished regions overlaying rhodoliths. Our results revealed the importance of light, thermal stress and pH driving the global distribution of rhodoliths. Future projections showed poleward expansions and contractions of suitable habitats at lower latitudes, structuring cryptic depth refugia, particularly evident under the more severe warming scenario RCP 8.5. Our results suggest that if management and conservation measures are not taken, bottom trawling may directly threaten the persistence of key rhodolith refugia. Since rhodoliths have slow growth rates, high sensitivity and ecological importance, understanding how their current and future distribution might be susceptible to bottom trawling pressure, may contribute to determine the fate of both the species and their associated communities.

Continue reading ‘Bottom trawling threatens future climate refugia of Rhodoliths globally’

Impacts of climate change on methylmercury formation and bioaccumulation in the 21st century ocean


  • Seawater MeHg may increase in the polar oceans and decrease in the North Atlantic in 2100
  • Plankton MeHg may increase at high latitudes and decrease at mid to low latitudes
  • Ocean acidification leads to different spatial patterns compared with physical factors


Climate change-driven alterations to marine biogeochemistry will impact the formation and trophic transfer of the bioaccumulative neurotoxin methylmercury (MeHg) in the global ocean. We use a 3D model to examine how MeHg might respond to changes in primary production and plankton community driven by ocean acidification and alterations in physical factors (e.g., ocean temperature, circulation). Productivity changes lead to significant increases in seawater MeHg in the polar oceans and a decrease in the North Atlantic Ocean. Phytoplankton MeHg may increase at high latitudes and decrease in lower latitudes due to shifts in community structure. Ocean acidification might enhance phytoplankton MeHg uptake by promoting the growth of a small species that efficiently accumulate MeHg. Non-linearities in the food web structure lead to differing magnitudes of zooplankton MeHg changes relative to those for phytoplankton. Climate-driven shifts in marine biogeochemistry thus need to be considered when evaluating future trajectories in biological MeHg concentrations.

Continue reading ‘Impacts of climate change on methylmercury formation and bioaccumulation in the 21st century ocean’

Impacts of hypoxic events surpass those of future ocean warming and acidification

Over the past decades, three major challenges to marine life have emerged as a consequence of anthropogenic emissions: ocean warming, acidification and oxygen loss. While most experimental research has targeted the first two stressors, the last remains comparatively neglected. Here, we implemented sequential hierarchical mixed-model meta-analyses (721 control–treatment comparisons) to compare the impacts of oxygen conditions associated with the current and continuously intensifying hypoxic events (1–3.5 O2 mg l−1) with those experimentally yielded by ocean warming (+4 °C) and acidification (−0.4 units) conditions on the basis of IPCC projections (RCP 8.5) for 2100. In contrast to warming and acidification, hypoxic events elicited consistent negative effects relative to control biological performance—survival (–33%), abundance (–65%), development (–51%), metabolism (–33%), growth (–24%) and reproduction (–39%)—across the taxonomic groups (mollusks, crustaceans and fish), ontogenetic stages and climate regions studied. Our findings call for a refocus of global change experimental studies, integrating oxygen concentration drivers as a key factor of ocean change. Given potential combined effects, multistressor designs including gradual and extreme changes are further warranted to fully disclose the future impacts of ocean oxygen loss, warming and acidification.

Continue reading ‘Impacts of hypoxic events surpass those of future ocean warming and acidification’

Assimilating synthetic Biogeochemical-Argo and ocean colour observations into a global ocean model to inform observing system design

A set of observing system simulation experiments was performed. This assessed the impact on global ocean biogeochemical reanalyses of assimilating chlorophyll from remotely sensed ocean colour and in situ observations of chlorophyll, nitrate, oxygen, and pH from a proposed array of Biogeochemical-Argo (BGC-Argo) floats. Two potential BGC-Argo array distributions were tested: one for which biogeochemical sensors are placed on all current Argo floats and one for which biogeochemical sensors are placed on a quarter of current Argo floats. Assimilating BGC-Argo data greatly improved model results throughout the water column. This included surface partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2), which is an important output of reanalyses. In terms of surface chlorophyll, assimilating ocean colour effectively constrained the model, with BGC-Argo providing no added benefit at the global scale. The vertical distribution of chlorophyll was improved by assimilating BGC-Argo data. Both BGC-Argo array distributions gave benefits, with greater improvements seen with more observations. From the point of view of ocean reanalysis, it is recommended to proceed with development of BGC-Argo as a priority. The proposed array of 1000 floats will lead to clear improvements in reanalyses, with a larger array likely to bring further benefits. The ocean colour satellite observing system should also be maintained, as ocean colour and BGC-Argo will provide complementary benefits.

Continue reading ‘Assimilating synthetic Biogeochemical-Argo and ocean colour observations into a global ocean model to inform observing system design’

Projections of algae, eelgrass, and zooplankton ecological interactions in the inner Salish Sea – for future climate, and altered oceanic states


  • Harmonized simulation of DO, pH, and Y2095 climate change impacts in the Salish Sea
  • A 52-fold increase in exposure and near-bed pelagic species to hypoxic waters in Y2095
  • Ocean acidification projections for Y2095 indicate ≈ 20 −114% increase in water column (ΩA) <1)
  • Primary productivity propagation to zooplankton projected for Y2095 with ≈ 13%−25% increases.
  • Eelgrass sensitive to stressors and potential for loss of eelgrass biomass in the future.


Future projections based on the IPCC high emissions scenario RCP8.5 have previously shown that the Pacific Northwest coastal waters will be subjected to altered ocean states in the upwelled shelf waters, resulting in higher primary productivity and increased regions of hypoxia and acidification in the inner estuarine waters such as the Salish Sea. However, corresponding effects on the lower trophic levels and submerged aquatic vegetation have not yet been quantified. Supported by new synoptic field data, explicit coupled simulation of algae, zooplankton, and eelgrass biomass was accomplished for the first time in the Salish Sea. We re-applied the improved model to evaluate future ecological response and examined potential algal species shift, but with the effects of zooplankton production, metabolism, and predation-prey interactions included. We also evaluated the role of eelgrass with respect to potential for improvements to dissolved oxygen and pH levels and as a mitigation measure against hypoxia and ocean acidification. The results re-confirm the possibility that there could be a substantial area-days increase (≈52-fold) in exposure of benthic and near-bed pelagic species to hypoxic waters in 2095. The projections for ocean acidification similarly indicate ≈ 20 -114% increase in exposure to lower pH corrosive waters with aragonite saturation state ΩA <1. Importantly, projected increase in primary productivity was shown to propagate to higher trophic levels, with ≈ 13% and 25% increases in micro and mesozooplankton biomass levels. However, the preliminary results also point to sensitivity of the eelgrass model to environmental stressor and potential loss eelgrass biomass in the future.

Continue reading ‘Projections of algae, eelgrass, and zooplankton ecological interactions in the inner Salish Sea – for future climate, and altered oceanic states’

Multiple linear regression models for reconstructing and exploring processes controlling the carbonate system of the northeast US from basic hydrographic data

In the coastal ocean, local carbonate system variability is determined by the interaction between ocean acidification and local processes. Sporadic observations indicate that biological metabolism, river input, and water mass mixing are dominant local processes driving carbonate system variability in northeast US shelf waters. These processes are also reflected in the variability of observed temperature (T), salinity (S), oxygen concentration (O2), and nitrate concentration (NO3). Therefore, regionally specific empirical models can be developed, which relate carbonate system parameters to a combination of basic hydrographic parameters. Here, we develop multiple linear regression models that represent the processes that drive carbonate system variability in the Mid‐Atlantic Bight and Gulf of Maine using observations obtained on three hydrographic surveys in summers between 2007 and 2015. The empirical model equations reveal the observation‐based relationships between carbonate parameters and basic hydrographic variables. Unlike other regions where empirical models have been developed, salinity appears in all models. T is the most important parameter for predicting aragonite saturation state (ΩAR), while S and O2 are most important for predicting pH on total scale (pHT). The basic hydrographic variables explain over 98% of the variability in total alkalinity (TA), dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), and ΩAR and 89% of the variability in pHT in the calibration data. We recommend applying models that depend on T, S, O2, and NO3 as predictors, which reproduce TA and DIC with R2 > 0.97, ΩAR with R2 > 0.93, and pHT with R2 > 0.77, to reconstruct carbonate system parameters in the region.

Continue reading ‘Multiple linear regression models for reconstructing and exploring processes controlling the carbonate system of the northeast US from basic hydrographic data’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book