06 Mar 2023
 | 06 Mar 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Chromophoric dissolved organic matter dynamics revealed through the optimization of an optical-biogeochemical model in the NW Mediterranean Sea

Eva Álvarez, Gianpiero Cossarini, Anna Teruzzi, Jorn Bruggeman, Karsten Bolding, Stefano Ciavatta, Vincenzo Vellucci, Fabrizio D’Ortenzio, David Antoine, and Paolo Lazzari

Abstract. Chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) significantly contributes to the non-water absorption budget in the Mediterranean Sea. The absorption coefficient of CDOM, αCDOM(λ), is measurable in situ and remotely from different platforms and can be used as an indicator of the concentration of other relevant biogeochemical variables, e.g., dissolved organic carbon. However, our ability to model the biogeochemical processes that determine CDOM concentrations is still limited. Here we propose a novel parametrisation of the CDOM cycle that accounts for the interplay between the light- and nutrient-dependent dynamics of local CDOM production and degradation, as well as its vertical transport. The parameterization is included in a one-dimensional (1D) configuration of the Biogeochemical Flux Model (BFM), which is here coupled to the General Ocean Turbulence Model (GOTM) through the Framework for Aquatic Biogeochemical Models (FABM). Here BFM is augmented with a bio-optical component that revolves spectrally the underwater light transmission. We did run this new GOTM-FABM-BFM configuration to simulate the seasonal αCDOM(λ) cycle at the deep-water site of the BOUSSOLE project in the North-Western Mediterranean Sea. Our results show that accounting for both nutrient and light dependence of CDOM production improves the simulation of the seasonal and vertical dynamics of αCDOM(λ), including a subsurface maximum that forms in spring and progressively intensifies in summer. Furthermore, the model consistently reproduces the higher-than-average concentrations of CDOM per unit chlorophyll concentration observed at BOUSSOLE. The configuration, outputs and sensitivity analyses from this 1D model application will be instrumental for future applications of BFM to the entire Mediterranean Sea in a 3D configuration.

Eva Álvarez et al.

Status: open (until 17 Apr 2023)

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Eva Álvarez et al.

Eva Álvarez et al.


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Short summary
Chromophore dissolved organic matter (CDOM) interact with the ambient light and gives the waters of the Mediterranean Sea their colour. We propose a novel parameterisation of the CDOM cycle, whose parameter values have been optimized by using the data of the monitoring site BOUSSOLE. Nutrient and light limitations for locally-produced CDOM caused αCDOM(λ) to covary with chlorophyll, while the above-average CDOM concentrations observed at this site were maintained by vertically transported CDOM.