One size fits all? Calibrating an ocean biogeochemistry model for different circulations.

Kriest, Iris , Kähler, Paul, Koeve, Wolfgang , Kvale, Karin F. , Sauerland, Volkmar and Oschlies, Andreas (2020) One size fits all? Calibrating an ocean biogeochemistry model for different circulations. Open Access Biogeosciences (BG), 17 . pp. 3057-3082. DOI 10.5194/bg-17-3057-2020.

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Supplementary data:


Global biogeochemical ocean models are often tuned to match the observed distributions and fluxes of inorganic and organic quantities. This tuning is typically carried out “by hand”. However, this rather subjective approach might not yield the best fit to observations, is closely linked to the circulation employed and is thus influenced by its specific features and even its faults. We here investigate the effect of model tuning, via objective optimisation, of one biogeochemical model of intermediate complexity when simulated in five different offline circulations. For each circulation, three of six model parameters have been adjusted to characteristic features of the respective circulation. The values of these three parameters – namely, the oxygen utilisation of remineralisation, the particle flux parameter and potential nitrogen fixation rate – correlate significantly with deep mixing and ideal age of North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) and the outcrop area of Antarctic Intermediate Waters (AAIW) and Subantarctic Mode Water (SAMW) in the Southern Ocean. The clear relationship between these parameters and circulation characteristics, which can be easily diagnosed from global models, can provide guidance when tuning global biogeochemistry within any new circulation model. The results from 20 global cross-validation experiments show that parameter sets optimised for a specific circulation can be transferred between similar circulations without losing too much of the model's fit to observed quantities. When compared to model intercomparisons of subjectively tuned, global coupled biogeochemistry–circulation models, each with different circulation and/or biogeochemistry, our results show a much lower range of oxygen inventory, oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) volume and global biogeochemical fluxes. Export production depends to a large extent on the circulation applied, while deep particle flux is mostly determined by the particle flux parameter. Oxygen inventory, OMZ volume, primary production and fixed-nitrogen turnover depend more or less equally on both factors, with OMZ volume showing the highest sensitivity, and residual variability. These results show a beneficial effect of optimisation, even when a biogeochemical model is first optimised in a relatively coarse circulation and then transferred to a different finer-resolution circulation model.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Biogeochemistry: Modelling, Aquatic; Open Ocean
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BM Biogeochemical Modeling
OceanRep > SFB 754
Kiel University
Corresponding Author:
Corresponding Author Name
Kriest, Iris
Kriest, Iris
FB2-BM Biogeochemical Modeling
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
Publisher: Copernicus Publications (EGU)
Related URLs:
Projects: SFB754, PalMod, Opendap
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2020 11:05
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2023 09:29

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