Posts Tagged 'modeling'



Salish sea response to global climate change, sea level rise, and future nutrient loads

Given annual occurrences of hypoxia, harmful algal blooms, and evidence of coastal acidification, the potential impacts of climate change on water quality are of increasing concern in the U.S. Pacific Northwest estuaries such as the Salish Sea. While large‐scale global climate projections are well documented, our understanding of the nearshore estuarine‐scale response is not as well developed. In this study, the future response within the Salish Sea fjord‐like environment was examined using the Salish Sea Model driven by downscaled outputs from the NCAR climate model CESM. We simulated a single projection of 95‐year change under the RCP 8.5 greenhouse gas emissions scenario. Results indicate that higher temperatures, lower pH, and decreased dissolved oxygen levels in the upwelled shelf waters in the future would propagate into the Salish Sea. Results point to potential changes in average Salish Sea temperature (≈+1.51°C), dissolved oxygen (≈‐0.77 mg/L), and pH (acidification ‐0.18 units) in the Y2095 relative to historical Y2000. The algal biomass in the Salish Sea could increase by ≈23% with a potential species shift from diatoms towards dinoflagellates. The region of annually recurring hypoxia could increase from <1% today to ≈16% in the future. The results suggest that the future response in the Salish Sea is less severe relative to the change predicted near the continental shelf boundary. This resilience of the Salish Sea may be attributed to the existence of strong vertical circulation cells that provide mitigation and serve as a physical buffer, thus keeping waters cooler, more oxygenated, and less acidic.

Continue reading ‘Salish sea response to global climate change, sea level rise, and future nutrient loads’

Development of a biogeochemical and carbon model related to ocean acidification indices with an operational ocean model product in the North Western Pacific

We developed a biogeochemical and carbon model (JCOPE_EC) coupled with an operational ocean model for the North Western Pacific. JCOPE_EC represents ocean acidification indices on the background of the risks due to ocean acidification and our model experiences. It is an off-line tracer model driven by a high-resolution regional ocean general circulation model (JCOPE2M). The results showed that the model adequately reproduced the general patterns in the observed data, including the seasonal variability of chlorophyll-a, dissolved inorganic nitrogen/phosphorus, dissolved inorganic carbon, and total alkalinity. We provide an overview of this system and the results of the model validation based on the available observed data. Sensitivity analysis using fixed values for temperature, salinity, dissolved inorganic carbon and total alkalinity helped us identify which variables contributed most to seasonal variations in the ocean acidification indices, pH and Ωarg. The seasonal variation in the pHinsitu was governed mainly by balances of the change in temperature and dissolved inorganic carbon. The seasonal increase in Ωarg from winter to summer was governed mainly by dissolved inorganic carbon levels.

Continue reading ‘Development of a biogeochemical and carbon model related to ocean acidification indices with an operational ocean model product in the North Western Pacific’

Impacts of the changing ocean-sea ice system on the key forage fish Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) and subsistence fisheries in the Western Canadian Arctic—evaluating linked Climate, Ecosystem and Economic (CEE) models

This study synthesizes results from observations, laboratory experiments and models to showcase how the integration of scientific methods and indigenous knowledge can improve our understanding of (a) past and projected changes in environmental conditions and marine species; (b) their effects on social and ecological systems in the respective communities; and (c) support management and planning tools for climate change adaptation and mitigation. The study links climate-ecosystem-economic (CEE) models and discusses uncertainties within those tools. The example focuses on the key forage species in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (Western Canadian Arctic), i.e., Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida). Arctic cod can be trophically linked to sea-ice algae and pelagic primary producers and are key vectors for energy transfers from plankton to higher trophic levels (e.g., ringed seals, beluga), which are harvested by Inuit peoples. Fundamental changes in ice and ocean conditions in the region affect the marine ecosystem and fish habitat. Model simulations suggest increasing trends in oceanic phytoplankton and sea-ice algae with high interannual variability. The latter might be linked to interannual variations in Arctic cod abundance and mask trends in observations. CEE simulations incorporating physiological temperature limits data for the distribution of Arctic cod, result in an estimated 17% decrease in Arctic cod populations by the end of the century (high emission scenario), but suggest increases in abundance for other Arctic and sub-Arctic species. The Arctic cod decrease is largely caused by increased temperatures and constraints in northward migration, and could directly impact key subsistence species. Responses to acidification are still highly uncertain, but sensitivity simulations suggests an additional 1% decrease in Arctic cod populations due to pH impacts on growth and survival. Uncertainties remain with respect to detailed future changes, but general results are likely correct and in line with results from other approaches. To reduce uncertainties, higher resolution models with improved parameterizations and better understanding of the species’ physiological limits are required. Arctic communities should be directly involved, receive tools and training to conduct local, unified research and food chain monitoring while decisions regarding commercial fisheries will need to be precautionary and adaptive in light of the existing uncertainties.

Continue reading ‘Impacts of the changing ocean-sea ice system on the key forage fish Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) and subsistence fisheries in the Western Canadian Arctic—evaluating linked Climate, Ecosystem and Economic (CEE) models’

Describing seasonal marine carbon system processes in Cambridge Bay Nunavut using an innovative sensor platform

The marine carbonate system is a critical component of global biogeochemical cycles. It determines a given marine region’s status as a source or sink for atmospheric CO2, and long-term changes (i.e. ocean acidification) that can affect key ecosystem functions. Carbonate system processes are highly-variable through space and time, which makes it difficult to fully characterize a region without either intensive sampling, or long-term deployment of high-precision instruments. Both of these are difficult in the Arctic, where challenging logistics limit sampling opportunities, and instruments must endure extreme conditions. In this work, we present the first high-resolution marine carbon system dataset covering a full Arctic cycle of sea ice growth and melt. We deployed a Satlantic SeaFET Ocean pH Sensor and a Pro-Oceanus CO2-Pro CV sensor for consecutive nearly year-long deployments onboard the Cambridge Bay Ocean Networks Canada Undersea Community Observatory from September 2015 – June 2018. The sensors measurements were compared to discrete sample references, and determined to require multipoint in situ calibration, but were representative of the greater sea surface mixed layer inside the bay through most of the year. Using a diagnostic box model approach, seasonal influencing processes on the marine carbon system at the platform were quantitatively determined. Air-sea gas exchange and biologic respiration/ remineralization were dominant in the fall, whereas following sea ice freeze-up brine rejection drove pCO2 to seasonal supersaturation with respect to the atmosphere, and the aragonite saturation state to become undersaturated. Shortly after the sun rose under the ice in the late winter, the ecosystem at the platform became net autotrophic at very low light levels, driving pCO2 to undersaturation. As sea ice melted, an under-ice phytoplankton bloom drew down a significant amount of carbon before the open water season, returning the aragonite saturation state to supersaturation at the platform. These observations show a dynamic system, where biological processes occur at times and rates previously unknown to the literature. These processes will need to be included in future biogeochemical modelling efforts, if we are to properly resolve the current, and future, role of the Arctic Ocean basin in global biogeochemical cycles.

Continue reading ‘Describing seasonal marine carbon system processes in Cambridge Bay Nunavut using an innovative sensor platform’

Identifying important species that amplify or mitigate the interactive effects of human impacts on marine food webs

Some species may have a larger role than others in the transfer of complex effects of multiple human stressors, such as changes in biomass, through marine food webs. We devised a novel approach to identify such species. We constructed annual interaction‐effect networks (IENs) of the simulated changes in biomass between species of the southeastern Australian marine system. Each annual IEN was composed of the species linked by either an additive (sum of the individual stressor response), synergistic (lower biomass compared with additive effects), or antagonistic (greater biomass compared with additive effects) response to the interaction effect of ocean warming, ocean acidification, and fisheries. Structurally, over the simulation period, the number of species and links in the synergistic IENs increased and the network structure became more stable. The stability of the antagonistic IENs decreased and became more vulnerable to the loss of species. In contrast, there was no change in the structural attributes of species linked by an additive response. Using indices common in food‐web and network theory, we identified the species in each IEN for which a change in biomass from stressor effects would disproportionately affect the biomass of other species via direct and indirect local, intermediate, and global predator–prey feeding interactions. Knowing the species that transfer the most synergistic or antagonistic responses in a food‐web may inform conservation under increasing multiple‐stressor impacts.

Continue reading ‘Identifying important species that amplify or mitigate the interactive effects of human impacts on marine food webs’

Riverine calcium end-members improve coastal saturation state calculations and reveal regionally variable calcification potential

Carbonate-rich groundwater discharged from springs, seeps, and spring-fed rivers on carbonate platforms creates environments of potential refuge for calcifying organisms in coastal waters by supplying higher [Ca2+] and [CO32-] along with typically lower nutrient concentrations. The benefits associated with carbonate terrains are maximized in the presence of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), especially seagrasses. To improve the accuracy of carbonate saturation state (Ω) determinations, calculated values of [CO32-] and Ksp∗ were paired with [Ca2+] values determined using a model that incorporates directly measured riverine calcium end-members (model A). This model results in Ω values larger than those calculated by assuming that [Ca2+] is directly proportional to salinity (model B; e.g., using CO2SYS, CO2calc). As an example, for salinity (S) between 13.5 and 24, improvements in saturation states calculated as differences (ΔΩ) between model A and model B saturation states in the tidal mixing zone of the Weeki Wachee River (Florida, United States) ranged from 0.39 to 1.00 (aragonite) and 0.61–1.65 (calcite). Saturation state ratios (Ω(A)/Ω(B)) for coastal waters with enhanced [Ca2+] originating from carbonate-rich groundwater can be calculated from end-member calcium concentrations and salinity. Applied to several river systems in the conterminous United States, Ω(A)/Ω(B) values calculated at S = 20 lead to Ω(A)/Ω(B) ratios of 1.12 (Weeki Wachee), 1.09 (Anclote), 1.06 (Mississippi), and 1.03 (Columbia). These increases in saturation states can be used to identify potential calcification refugia for subsequent high resolution field studies that focus on, for example, the long-term viability of oyster communities and other calcifying organisms in brackish coastal waters.

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Toxic algae silence physiological responses to multiple climate drivers in a tropical marine food chain

Research on the effects of climate change in the marine environment continues to accelerate, yet we know little about the effects of multiple climate drivers in more complex, ecologically relevant settings – especially in sub-tropical and tropical systems. In marine ecosystems, climate change (warming and freshening from land run-off) will increase water column stratification which is favorable for toxin producing dinoflagellates. This can increase the prevalence of toxic microalgal species, leading to bioaccumulation of toxins by filter feeders, such as bivalves, with resultant negative impacts on physiological performance. In this study we manipulated multiple climate drivers (warming, freshening, and acidification), and the availability of toxic microalgae, to determine their impact on the physiological health, and toxin load of the tropical filter-feeding clam, Meretrix meretrix. Using a structural equation modeling (SEM) approach, we found that exposure to projected marine climates resulted in direct negative effects on metabolic and immunological function and, that these effects were often more pronounced in clams exposed to multiple, rather than single climate drivers. Furthermore, our study showed that these physiological responses were modified by indirect effects mediated through the food chain. Specifically, we found that when bivalves were fed with a toxin-producing dinoflagellate (Alexandrium minutum) the physiological responses, and toxin load changed differently and in a non-predictable way compared to clams exposed to projected marine climates only. Specifically, oxygen consumption data revealed that these clams did not respond physiologically to climate warming or the combined effects of warming, freshening and acidification. Our results highlight the importance of quantifying both direct and, indirect food chain effects of climate drivers on a key tropical food species, and have important implications for shellfish production and food safety in tropical regions.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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