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Biological Impacts of Physics through Idealized Tracers: Changes in the seasonal cycle of vertical exchange from early to late 21st century
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  • Genevieve Brett,
  • Kelvin Richards,
  • Daniel Whitt,
  • Matthew Long
Genevieve Brett
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory,University of Hawaii Manoa

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Kelvin Richards
International Pacific Research Center
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Daniel Whitt
University of Cambridge
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Matthew Long
National Center for Atmospheric Research
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In this study we introduce a pair of idealized tracers to quantify how changes in physical advection and mixing under climate change affect the nutrient supply, new production, and particulate export rates. The low cost and simplicity of these tracers allows us to explore the sensitivity of the model biogeochemistry, and in particular its response to a changing physical environment, to the choice of model parameters. Using CESM2.1 with active ocean and ice only, at nominal one-degree resolution, under initial conditions and forcing representative of 2000 and 2100, our idealized nutrient and particulate are within the spread of nitrate and export from CMIP5 models. The simple form of the tracers allows us to identify the physical controls on the changing rates of supply, production, and export throughout the year, which together form the different seasonal cycles. We find that the ocean basins with the largest changes in the seasonal cycle over the 21st century are the North Atlantic, the Arctic, and the eastern tropical Pacific. We present results comparing the controls across basins, focusing on shifts in the timing of deepening mixed layers and maximum production rate in the northern North Atlantic through the Arctic, and changes in the spatial and temporal patterns of vertical advective exchange in the tropics and subtropics of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. In both cases we discuss how much these changes depend on the biogeochemical model parameter values.