Posts Tagged 'modeling'

OceanSODA-ETHZ: a global gridded data set of the surface ocean carbonate system for seasonal to decadal studies of ocean acidification (update)

Ocean acidification has profoundly altered the ocean’s carbonate chemistry since preindustrial times, with potentially serious consequences for marine life. Yet, no long-term, global observation-based data set exists that allows us to study changes in ocean acidification for all carbonate system parameters over the last few decades. Here, we fill this gap and present a methodologically consistent global data set of all relevant surface ocean parameters, i.e., dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), total alkalinity (TA), partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2), pH, and the saturation state with respect to mineral CaCO3 (Ω) at a monthly resolution over the period 1985 through 2018 at a spatial resolution of 1∘×1∘. This data set, named OceanSODA-ETHZ, was created by extrapolating in time and space the surface ocean observations of pCO2 (from the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas, SOCAT) and total alkalinity (TA; from the Global Ocean Data Analysis Project, GLODAP) using the newly developed Geospatial Random Cluster Ensemble Regression (GRaCER) method (code available at This method is based on a two-step (cluster-regression) approach but extends it by considering an ensemble of such cluster regressions, leading to improved robustness. Surface ocean DIC, pH, and Ω were then computed from the globally mapped pCO2 and TA using the thermodynamic equations of the carbonate system. For the open ocean, the cluster-regression method estimates pCO2 and TA with global near-zero biases and root mean squared errors of 12 µatm and 13 µmol kg−1, respectively. Taking into account also the measurement and representation errors, the total uncertainty increases to 14 µatm and 21 µmol kg−1, respectively. We assess the fidelity of the computed parameters by comparing them to direct observations from GLODAP, finding surface ocean pH and DIC global biases of near zero, as well as root mean squared errors of 0.023 and 16 µmol kg−1, respectively. These uncertainties are very comparable to those expected by propagating the total uncertainty from pCO2 and TA through the thermodynamic computations, indicating a robust and conservative assessment of the uncertainties. We illustrate the potential of this new data set by analyzing the climatological mean seasonal cycles of the different parameters of the surface ocean carbonate system, highlighting their commonalities and differences. Further, this data set provides a novel constraint on the global- and basin-scale trends in ocean acidification for all parameters. Concretely, we find for the period 1990 through 2018 global mean trends of 8.6 ± 0.1 µmol kg−1 per decade for DIC, −0.016 ± 0.000 per decade for pH, 16.5 ± 0.1 µatm per decade for pCO2, and −0.07 ± 0.00 per decade for Ω. The OceanSODA-ETHZ data can be downloaded from (Gregor and Gruber2020).

Continue reading ‘OceanSODA-ETHZ: a global gridded data set of the surface ocean carbonate system for seasonal to decadal studies of ocean acidification (update)’

Arctic Ocean acidification over the 21st century co-driven by anthropogenic carbon increases and freshening in the CMIP6 model ensemble (update)

The uptake of anthropogenic carbon (Cant) by the ocean leads to ocean acidification, causing the reduction of pH and the saturation states of aragonite (Ωarag) and calcite (Ωcalc). The Arctic Ocean is particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification due to its naturally low pH and saturation states and due to ongoing freshening and the concurrent reduction in total alkalinity in this region. Here, we analyse ocean acidification in the Arctic Ocean over the 21st century across 14 Earth system models (ESMs) from the latest Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6). Compared to the previous model generation (CMIP5), models generally better simulate maximum sea surface densities in the Arctic Ocean and consequently the transport of Cant into the Arctic Ocean interior, with simulated historical increases in Cant in improved agreement with observational products. Moreover, in CMIP6 the inter-model uncertainty of projected changes over the 21st century in Arctic Ocean Ωarag and Ωcalc averaged over the upper 1000 m is reduced by 44–64 %. The strong reduction in projection uncertainties of Ωarag and Ωcalc can be attributed to compensation between Cant uptake and total alkalinity reduction in the latest models. Specifically, ESMs with a large increase in Arctic Ocean Cant over the 21st century tend to simulate a relatively weak concurrent freshening and alkalinity reduction, while ESMs with a small increase in Cant simulate a relatively strong freshening and concurrent total alkalinity reduction. Although both mechanisms contribute to Arctic Ocean acidification over the 21st century, the increase in Cant remains the dominant driver. Even under the low-emissions Shared Socioeconomic Pathway 1-2.6 (SSP1-2.6), basin-wide averaged Ωarag undersaturation in the upper 1000 m occurs before the end of the century. While under the high-emissions pathway SSP5-8.5, the Arctic Ocean mesopelagic is projected to even become undersaturated with respect to calcite. An emergent constraint identified in CMIP5 which relates present-day maximum sea surface densities in the Arctic Ocean to the projected end-of-century Arctic Ocean Cant inventory is found to generally hold in CMIP6. However, a coincident constraint on Arctic declines in Ωarag and Ωcalc is not apparent in the new generation of models. This is due to both the reduction in Ωarag and Ωcalc projection uncertainty and the weaker direct relationship between projected changes in Arctic Ocean Cant and changes in Ωarag and Ωcalc.

Continue reading ‘Arctic Ocean acidification over the 21st century co-driven by anthropogenic carbon increases and freshening in the CMIP6 model ensemble (update)’

Real-time environmental forecasts of the Chesapeake Bay: model setup, improvements, and online visualization


  • A real-time environmental forecast system of the Chesapeake Bay has run since 2017.
  • Forecast includes salinity, temperature, oxygen, and acidification metrics.
  • Current conditions and 2-day forecasts are available on a mobile-friendly website.
  • Visualizations are updated regularly based on stakeholder feedback.
  • Model output is available on a THREDDS server for use by others via MARACOOS.


Daily real-time nowcasts (current conditions) and 2-day forecasts of environmental conditions in the Chesapeake Bay have been continuously available for 4 years. The forecasts use a 3-D hydrodynamic-biogeochemical model with 1 to 2 km resolution and 3-D output every 6 hours that includes salinity, water temperature, pH, aragonite saturation state, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, and hypoxic volume. Visualizations of the forecasts are available through a local institutional website ( and the MARACOOS Oceans Map portal ( Modifications to real-time graphics on the local website are routinely made based on stakeholder input and are formatted for use on a mobile device. Continuous model input files were developed from daily real-time forecast input files, for hindcast simulations and efficient evaluation and improvement of the real-time model. This manuscript describes the setup of the environmental forecasting system, how the model accuracy has been improved, and the revision of online graphics based on stakeholder feedback.

Continue reading ‘Real-time environmental forecasts of the Chesapeake Bay: model setup, improvements, and online visualization’

Quantifying the atmospheric CO2 forcing effect on surface ocean pCO2 in the North Pacific subtropical gyre in the past two decades

Despite the well-recognized importance in understanding the long term impact of anthropogenic release of atmospheric CO2 (its partial pressure named as pCO2air) on surface seawater pCO2 (pCO2sw), it has been difficult to quantify the trends or changing rates of pCO2sw driven by increasing atmospheric CO2 forcing (pCO2swatm_forced) due to its combination with the natural variability of pCO2sw (pCO2swnat_forced) and the requirement of long time series data records. Here, using a novel satellite-based pCO2sw model with inputs of ocean color and other ancillary data between 2002 and 2019, we address this challenge for a mooring station at the Hawaii Ocean Time-series Station in the North Pacific subtropical gyre. Specifically, using the developed pCO2sw model, we differentiated and separately quantified the interannual-decadal trends of pCO2swnat_forced and pCO2swatm_forced. Between 2002 and 2019, both pCO2sw and pCO2air show significant increases at rates of 1.7 ± 0.1 μatm yr–1 and 2.2 ± 0.1 μatm yr–1, respectively. Correspondingly, the changing rate in pCO2swnat_forced is mainly driven by large scale forcing such as Pacific Decadal Oscillation, with a negative rate (-0.5 ± 0.2 μatm yr–1) and a positive rate (0.6 ± 0.3 μatm yr–1) before and after 2013. The pCO2swatm_forced shows a smaller increasing rate of 1.4 ± 0.1 μatm yr–1 than that of the modeled pCO2sw, varying in different time intervals in response to the variations in atmospheric pCO2. The findings of decoupled trends in pCO2swatm_forced and pCO2swnat_forced highlight the necessity to differentiate the two toward a better understanding of the long term oceanic absorption of anthropogenic CO2 and the anthropogenic impact on the changing surface ocean carbonic chemistry.

Continue reading ‘Quantifying the atmospheric CO2 forcing effect on surface ocean pCO2 in the North Pacific subtropical gyre in the past two decades’

Future changes in oceanography and biogeochemistry along the Canadian Pacific continental margin

Model projections of ocean circulation and biogeochemistry are used to investigate large scale climate changes under moderate mitigation (RCP 4.5) and high emissions (RCP 8.5) scenarios along the continental shelf of the Canadian Pacific Coast. To reduce computational cost, an approach for dynamical downscaling of climate projections was developed that uses atmospheric climatologies with augmented winds to simulate historical (1986–2005) and future (2046–2065) periods separately. The two simulations differ in initial and lateral open boundary conditions. For each simulation, the daily climatology of surface winds in the driving model was augmented with high-frequency variability from an atmospheric reanalysis product. The “time-slice” approach was able to reproduce the observed climate state for the historical period. Sensitivity tests confirmed that the high frequency wind variability plays an essential role in freshwater distribution in this region. Projections suggest that sea surface temperature will increase by 1.8–2.4°C and surface salinity will decrease between −0.08 and −0.23 depending on whether a moderate or high emissions scenario is used. Stratification increases throughout the region and there is some evidence of nutrient limitation near the surface. Primary production and phytoplankton productivity (chlorophyll) also increase. Density surfaces are relocated deeper in the water column and this change is mainly driven by surface heating and freshening. Changes in saturation state are mainly due to anthropogenic CO2 with minor contributions from solubility, remineralization and advection. There is little difference between RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 with regard to projections of deoxygenation and acidification. The depths of the aragonite saturation state and the oxygen minimum zone are projected to become shallower by ≃ 100 and ≃ 75 m respectively. Extreme states of temperature, oxygen and acidification are projected to become more frequent and more extreme, with the frequency of occurrence of [O2]<60 mmolm−3[O2]<60 mmolm-3 expected to approximately double under either scenario.

Continue reading ‘Future changes in oceanography and biogeochemistry along the Canadian Pacific continental margin’

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&lt;sub&gt;c&lt;/sub&gt;). 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&lt;sub&gt;c&lt;/sub&gt; (up to -20%) south of 30&deg;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’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book