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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 10 | Copyright
Geosci. Model Dev., 11, 4241-4267, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-11-4241-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Model description paper 18 Oct 2018

Model description paper | 18 Oct 2018

EcoGEnIE 1.0: plankton ecology in the cGEnIE Earth system model

Ben A. Ward1,2, Jamie D. Wilson1, Ros M. Death1, Fanny M. Monteiro1, Andrew Yool3, and Andy Ridgwell1,4 Ben A. Ward et al.
  • 1School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  • 2Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK
  • 3National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK
  • 4Department of Earth Sciences, University of California, Riverside, CA, USA

Abstract. We present an extension to the carbon-centric Grid Enabled Integrated Earth system model (cGEnIE) that explicitly accounts for the growth and interaction of an arbitrary number of plankton species. The new package (ECOGEM) replaces the implicit, flux-based parameterisation of the plankton community currently employed, with explicitly resolved plankton populations and ecological dynamics. In ECOGEM, any number of plankton species, with ecophysiological traits (e.g. growth and grazing rates) assigned according to organism size and functional group (e.g. phytoplankton and zooplankton) can be incorporated at runtime. We illustrate the capability of the marine ecology enabled Earth system model (EcoGEnIE) by comparing results from one configuration of ECOGEM (with eight generic phytoplankton and zooplankton size classes) to climatological and seasonal observations. We find that the new ecological components of the model show reasonable agreement with both global-scale climatological and local-scale seasonal data. We also compare EcoGEnIE results to the existing biogeochemical incarnation of cGEnIE. We find that the resulting global-scale distributions of phosphate, iron, dissolved inorganic carbon, alkalinity, and oxygen are similar for both iterations of the model. A slight deterioration in some fields in EcoGEnIE (relative to the data) is observed, although we make no attempt to re-tune the overall marine cycling of carbon and nutrients here. The increased capabilities of EcoGEnIE in this regard will enable future exploration of the ecological community on much longer timescales than have previously been examined in global ocean ecosystem models and particularly for past climates and global biogeochemical cycles.

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A novel configuration of an Earth system model includes a diverse plankton community. The model – EcoGEnIE – is sufficiently complex to reproduce a realistic, size-structured plankton community, while at the same time retaining the efficiency to run to a global steady state (~ 10k years). The increased capabilities of EcoGEnIE will allow future exploration of ecological communities on much longer timescales than have so far been examined in global ocean models and particularly for past climate.
A novel configuration of an Earth system model includes a diverse plankton community. The model...
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