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21) Simulating Arctic Benthic Organic Carbon in E3SM

Presentation Date
Monday, August 21, 2023 at 12:00pm - Monday, August 21, 2023 at 2:00pm



Simulating Arctic Benthic Organic Carbon ThumbnailThe Arctic marine ecosystem supports a very high biomass, abundance and diversity of benthic (bottom ocean sediment) organisms that play a key role in the Arctic food web. This is due to the high export rates of ocean and sea ice primary production particularly in shelf and coastal regions. Dramatic changes in recent decades in the Arctic physical climate are bringing equally dramatic changes in Arctic ecosystem structure and functioning. The recent declines in sea ice extent and persistence, for example, have direct consequences on ice algal production and export to the benthos, and for marine mammals that use sea ice as a platform for accessing those rich benthic coastal feeding-zones. In order to better understand the linkages between climate, pelagic primary production, and the Arctic marine ecosystem, we present research from the ecosystem project InteRFACE (Integrated Research for Arctic Coastal Environments, PI Joel Rowland) – an equilibrium modeling study of ocean benthic organic carbon content in the Arctic coastal-shelf waters using E3SM.v2 (Energy Exascale Earth System Model version 2) plus a new benthic biogeochemistry submodule. We find that in some regions, those of high benthic organic carbon content, the equilibrium concentration is highly correlated with the sinking POC (particulate organic carbon) flux normalized by the total burial rate. This strong relationship allows us to explore how Arctic benthic carbon may respond in the future to changes in land-derived fluxes of POC and lithogenic material or with changes to the pelagically-derived POC fluxes.

Funding Program Area(s)