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Time of Emergence and Large Ensemble Intercomparison for Ocean Biogeochemical Trends

Author(s): Schlunegger, Sarah; Rodgers, Keith B; Sarmiento, Jorge L; Ilyina, Tatiana; Dunne, John P; et al

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Abstract: Anthropogenically forced changes in ocean biogeochemistry are underway and critical for the ocean carbon sink and marine habitat. Detecting such changes in ocean biogeochemistry will require quantification of the magnitude of the change (anthropogenic signal) and the natural variability inherent to the climate system (noise). Here we use Large Ensemble (LE) experiments from four Earth system models (ESMs) with multiple emissions scenarios to estimate Time of Emergence (ToE) and partition projection uncertainty for anthropogenic signals in five biogeochemically important upper‐ocean variables. We find ToEs are robust across ESMs for sea surface temperature and the invasion of anthropogenic carbon; emergence time scales are 20–30 yr. For the biological carbon pump, and sea surface chlorophyll and salinity, emergence time scales are longer (50+ yr), less robust across the ESMs, and more sensitive to the forcing scenario considered. We find internal variability uncertainty, and model differences in the internal variability uncertainty, can be consequential sources of uncertainty for projecting regional changes in ocean biogeochemistry over the coming decades. In combining structural, scenario, and internal variability uncertainty, this study represents the most comprehensive characterization of biogeochemical emergence time scales and uncertainty to date. Our findings delineate critical spatial and duration requirements for marine observing systems to robustly detect anthropogenic change.
Publication Date: 23-Jul-2020
Citation: Schlunegger, Sarah, Keith B. Rodgers, Jorge L. Sarmiento, Tatiana Ilyina, John P. Dunne, Yohei Takano, James R. Christian et al. "Time of Emergence and Large Ensemble intercomparison for ocean biogeochemical trends." Global Biogeochemical Cycles 34, no. 8 (2020): e2019GB006453. doi:10.1029/2019gb006453.
DOI: doi:10.1029/2019gb006453
ISSN: 0886-6236
EISSN: 1944-9224
Language: eng
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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