A comparison of global estimates of marine primary production from ocean colour

Mary-Elena Carr, Marjorie A. M. Friedrichs, Marjorie Schmeltz, Maki Noguchi Aita, David Antoine, Kevin R. Arrigo, Ichio Asanuma, Olivier Aumont, Richard Barber, Michael Behrenfeld, Robert Bidigara, Erik T. Buitenhuis, Janet Campbell, Aurea Ciotti, Heidi Dierssen, Mark Dowell, John Dunne, Wayne Esaias, Bernard Gentili, Watson GreggSteve Groom, Nicolas Hoepffner, Joji Ishizaka, Takahiko Kameda, Corinne Le Quéré, Steven Lohrenz, John Marra, Frédéric Melin, Keith Moore, André Morel, Tasha E. Reddy, John Ryan, Michele Scardi, Tim Smyth, Kevin Turpie, Gavin Tilstone, Kirk Waters, Yasuhiro Yamanaka

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Abstract

The third primary production algorithm round robin (PPARR3) compares output from 24 models that estimate depth-integrated primary production from satellite measurements of ocean color, as well as seven general circulation models (GCMs) coupled with ecosystem or biogeochemical models. Here we compare the global primary production fields corresponding to eight months of 1998 and 1999 as estimated from common input fields of photosynthetically-available radiation (PAR), sea-surface temperature (SST), mixed-layer depth, and chlorophyll concentration. We also quantify the sensitivity of the ocean-color-based models to perturbations in their input variables. The pair-wise correlation between ocean-color models was used to cluster them into groups or related output, which reflect the regions and environmental conditions under which they respond differently. The groups do not follow model complexity with regards to wavelength or depth dependence, though they are related to the manner in which temperature is used to parameterize photosynthesis. Global average PP varies by a factor of two between models. The models diverged the most for the Southern Ocean, SST under 10 {ring operator} C, and chlorophyll concentration exceeding 1 mg Chlm- 3 . Based on the conditions under which the model results diverge most, we conclude that current ocean-color-based models are challenged by high-nutrient low-chlorophyll conditions, and extreme temperatures or chlorophyll concentrations. The GCM-based models predict comparable primary production to those based on ocean color: they estimate higher values in the Southern Ocean, at low SST, and in the equatorial band, while they estimate lower values in eutrophic regions (probably because the area of high chlorophyll concentrations is smaller in the GCMs). Further progress in primary production modeling requires improved understanding of the effect of temperature on photosynthesis and better parameterization of the maximum photosynthetic rate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-770
Number of pages30
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Volume53
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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