Arctic Marine Biogeochemistry in a Global Ice-Ocean Ecosystem Model: A Look at Seasonal Features and Spatial Patterns

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 - 17:30
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The LANL-UAF ice-ocean ecosystem model was developed to investigate how sea ice influences biogeochemical cycling in the arctic marine environment and predict how it will do so in the future. Sea ice is an integral component of arctic biogeochemical cycles. Rapidly changing sea ice conditions, such as thinning, increasing open water area and freshening impact C, N, and S cycles in multiple interacting ways. Here we discuss model results for chlorophyll, primary productivity, nutrients, and dimethyl sulfide (DMS) in the Arctic Ocean. We compare our results to observations and simulations from other Arctic biogeochemical models. Participation in several recent intercomparison studies provide context for interpretation of our own model results. Key seasonal features and spatial patterns of biogeochemical phenomena studied include pan-Arctic primary production, subsurface chlorophyll maxima, under-ice phytoplankton blooms, and relatively high seawater DMS concentrations following the retreating ice edge. Not surprisingly, in most all cases, the model’s success depends on how well the physical processes (e.g., vertical mixing, melt-water stratification) realistically distribute available nutrients. Further explanations for model-model and model-observation agreement/disagreement will be presented. While the model predicted high ice primary productivity recently recorded in the Bering Sea, the model shows no indication of extremely high seawater DMS recently observed at sea ice stations north of Svalbard. Preliminary model results from a high resolution version of our model, as part of the Regional Arctic System Model – Marine Biogeochemistry (i.e., RASM-mBGC) project, will also be presented.