Articles | Volume 5, issue 5
Model description paper
28 Sep 2012
Model description paper |  | 28 Sep 2012

A new marine ecosystem model for the University of Victoria Earth System Climate Model

D. P. Keller, A. Oschlies, and M. Eby

Abstract. Earth System Climate Models (ESCMs) are valuable tools that can be used to gain a better understanding of the climate system, global biogeochemical cycles and how anthropogenically-driven changes may affect them. Here we describe improvements made to the marine biogeochemical ecosystem component of the University of Victoria's ESCM (version 2.9). Major changes include corrections to the code and equations describing phytoplankton light limitation and zooplankton grazing, the implementation of a more realistic zooplankton growth and grazing model, and the implementation of an iron limitation scheme to constrain phytoplankton growth. The new model is evaluated after a 10 000-yr spin-up and compared to both the previous version and observations. For the majority of biogeochemical tracers and ecosystem processes the new model shows significant improvements when compared to the previous version and evaluated against observations. Many of the improvements are due to better simulation of seasonal changes in higher latitude ecosystems and the effect that this has on ocean biogeochemistry. This improved model is intended to provide a basic new ESCM model component, which can be used as is or expanded upon (i.e., the addition of new tracers), for climate change and biogeochemical cycling research.