Articles | Volume 6, issue 5
28 May 2009
 | 28 May 2009

Stoichiometries of remineralisation and denitrification in global biogeochemical ocean models

A. Paulmier, I. Kriest, and A. Oschlies

Abstract. Since the seminal paper of Redfield (1934), constant stoichiometric elemental ratios linking biotic carbon and nutrient fluxes are often assumed in marine biogeochemistry, and especially in coupled biogeochemical circulation models, to couple the global oxygen, carbon and nutrient cycles. However, when looking in more detail, some deviations from the classical Redfield stoichiometry have been reported, in particular with respect to remineralization of organic matter changing with depth or with ambient oxygen levels. We here compare the assumptions about the stoichiometry of organic matter and its remineralization that are used explicitly and implicitly in common biogeochemical ocean models. We find that the implicit assumptions made about the hydrogen content of organic matter can lead to inconsistencies in the modeled remineralization and denitrification stoichiometries. It is suggested that future marine biogeochemical models explicitly state the chemical composition assumed for the organic matter, including its oxygen and hydrogen content.

Final-revised paper