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Matthew C. Long
,
Keith Lindsay
,
Synte Peacock
,
J. Keith Moore
, and
Scott C. Doney

Abstract

Ocean carbon uptake and storage simulated by the Community Earth System Model, version 1–Biogeochemistry [CESM1(BGC)], is described and compared to observations. Fully coupled and ocean-ice configurations are examined; both capture many aspects of the spatial structure and seasonality of surface carbon fields. Nearly ubiquitous negative biases in surface alkalinity result from the prescribed carbonate dissolution profile. The modeled sea–air CO2 fluxes match observationally based estimates over much of the ocean; significant deviations appear in the Southern Ocean. Surface ocean pCO2 is biased high in the subantarctic and low in the sea ice zone. Formation of the water masses dominating anthropogenic CO2 (Cant) uptake in the Southern Hemisphere is weak in the model, leading to significant negative biases in Cant and chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) storage at intermediate depths. Column inventories of Cant appear too high, by contrast, in the North Atlantic. In spite of the positive bias, this marks an improvement over prior versions of the model, which underestimated North Atlantic uptake. The change in behavior is attributable to a new parameterization of density-driven overflows. CESM1(BGC) provides a relatively robust representation of the ocean–carbon cycle response to climate variability. Statistical metrics of modeled interannual variability in sea–air CO2 fluxes compare reasonably well to observationally based estimates. The carbon cycle response to key modes of climate variability is basically similar in the coupled and forced ocean-ice models; however, the two differ in regional detail and in the strength of teleconnections.

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Gretchen Keppel-Aleks
,
James T. Randerson
,
Keith Lindsay
,
Britton B. Stephens
,
J. Keith Moore
,
Scott C. Doney
,
Peter E. Thornton
,
Natalie M. Mahowald
,
Forrest M. Hoffman
,
Colm Sweeney
,
Pieter P. Tans
,
Paul O. Wennberg
, and
Steven C. Wofsy

Abstract

Changes in atmospheric CO2 variability during the twenty-first century may provide insight about ecosystem responses to climate change and have implications for the design of carbon monitoring programs. This paper describes changes in the three-dimensional structure of atmospheric CO2 for several representative concentration pathways (RCPs 4.5 and 8.5) using the Community Earth System Model–Biogeochemistry (CESM1-BGC). CO2 simulated for the historical period was first compared to surface, aircraft, and column observations. In a second step, the evolution of spatial and temporal gradients during the twenty-first century was examined. The mean annual cycle in atmospheric CO2 was underestimated for the historical period throughout the Northern Hemisphere, suggesting that the growing season net flux in the Community Land Model (the land component of CESM) was too weak. Consistent with weak summer drawdown in Northern Hemisphere high latitudes, simulated CO2 showed correspondingly weak north–south and vertical gradients during the summer. In the simulations of the twenty-first century, CESM predicted increases in the mean annual cycle of atmospheric CO2 and larger horizontal gradients. Not only did the mean north–south gradient increase due to fossil fuel emissions, but east–west contrasts in CO2 also strengthened because of changing patterns in fossil fuel emissions and terrestrial carbon exchange. In the RCP8.5 simulation, where CO2 increased to 1150 ppm by 2100, the CESM predicted increases in interannual variability in the Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes of up to 60% relative to present variability for time series filtered with a 2–10-yr bandpass. Such an increase in variability may impact detection of changing surface fluxes from atmospheric observations.

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