Explicit Planktic Calcifiers in the University of Victoria Earth System Climate Model, Version 2.9 Public Deposited


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  • Marine calcifiers as a plankton functional type (PFT) are a crucial part of the global carbon cycle, being responsible for much of the carbon export to the deep ocean entering via biological pathways. Deep ocean carbon export through calcifiers is controlled by physiological, ecological and biogeochemical factors. This paper describes the implementation of a calcifying phytoplankton PFT in the University of Victoria Earth System Climate Model version 2.9 (UVic ESCM), and mechanistic improvements to the representation of model carbon export (a full calcite tracer, carbonate chemistry dependent calcite dissolution rates, and a ballasting scheme). An iterative method for stabilising and tuning the biogeochemistry is furthermore described. The UVic ESCM now fills a niche in Earth system modelling that was previously unoccupied in that it is relatively inexpensive to run, yet resolves the complete Earth system carbon cycle including prognostic calcium carbonate and a separate phytoplankton calcifier PFT. The model is now well suited to test feedbacks between the carbonate and carbon cycles and the climate system as transient simulations. The described modifications improve the UVic ESCM’s mechanistic realism without compromising performance with respect to observed carbon and nutrient fluxes. Primary production, export production, particulate organic carbon and calcite fluxes all fall within independently observed estimates.
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  • Kvale, K. F., Meissner, K. J., Keller, D. P., Eby, M., & Schmittner, A. (2015). Explicit Planktic Calcifiers in the University of Victoria Earth System Climate Model, Version 2.9. Atmosphere-Ocean, 53(3), 332-350. doi:10.1080/07055900.2015.1049112
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