Articles | Volume 3, issue 4
09 Nov 2006
09 Nov 2006

Reconciling surface ocean productivity, export fluxes and sediment composition in a global biogeochemical ocean model

M. Gehlen, L. Bopp, N. Emprin, O. Aumont, C. Heinze, and O. Ragueneau

Abstract. This study focuses on an improved representation of the biological soft tissue pump in the global three-dimensional biogeochemical ocean model PISCES. We compare three parameterizations of particle dynamics: (1) the model standard version including two particle size classes, aggregation-disaggregation and prescribed sinking speed; (2) an aggregation-disaggregation model with a particle size spectrum and prognostic sinking speed; (3) a mineral ballast parameterization with no size classes, but prognostic sinking speed. In addition, the model includes a description of surface sediments and organic carbon early diagenesis. Model output is compared to data or data based estimates of ocean productivity, pe-ratios, particle fluxes, surface sediment bulk composition and benthic O2 fluxes. Model results suggest that different processes control POC fluxes at different depths. In the wind mixed layer turbulent particle coagulation appears as key process in controlling pe-ratios. Parameterization (2) yields simulated pe-ratios that compare well to observations. Below the wind mixed layer, POC fluxes are most sensitive to the intensity of zooplankton flux feeding, indicating the importance of zooplankton community composition. All model parameters being kept constant, the capability of the model to reproduce yearly mean POC fluxes below 2000 m and benthic oxygen demand does at first order not dependent on the resolution of the particle size spectrum. Aggregate formation appears essential to initiate an intense biological pump. At great depth the reported close to constant particle fluxes are most likely the result of the combined effect of aggregate formation and mineral ballasting.

Final-revised paper