231Pa and 230Th in the ocean model of the Community Earth System Model (CESM1.3)
- 1Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Center for Climate Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA
- 2Atmospheric Science Program, Department of Geography, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
Abstract. The sediment 231Pa ∕ 230Th activity ratio is emerging as an important proxy for deep ocean circulation in the past. In order to allow for a direct model–data comparison and to improve our understanding of the sediment 231Pa ∕ 230Th activity ratio, we implement 231Pa and 230Th in the ocean component of the Community Earth System Model (CESM). In addition to the fully coupled implementation of the scavenging behavior of 231Pa and 230Th with the active marine ecosystem module (particle-coupled: hereafter p-coupled), another form of 231Pa and 230Th have also been implemented with prescribed particle flux fields of the present climate (particle-fixed: hereafter p-fixed). The comparison of the two forms of 231Pa and 230Th helps to isolate the influence of the particle fluxes from that of ocean circulation. Under present-day climate forcing, our model is able to simulate water column 231Pa and 230Th activity and the sediment 231Pa ∕ 230Th activity ratio in good agreement with available observations. In addition, in response to freshwater forcing, the p-coupled and p-fixed sediment 231Pa ∕ 230Th activity ratios behave similarly over large areas of low productivity on long timescales, but can differ substantially in some regions of high productivity and on short timescales, indicating the importance of biological productivity in addition to ocean transport. Therefore, our model provides a potentially powerful tool to help the interpretation of sediment 231Pa ∕ 230Th reconstructions and to improve our understanding of past ocean circulation and climate changes.