A stochastic, Lagrangian model of sinking biogenic aggregates in the ocean (SLAMS 1.0): model formulation, validation and sensitivity
Abstract. We present a new mechanistic model, stochastic, Lagrangian aggregate model of sinking particles (SLAMS) for the biological pump in the ocean, which tracks the evolution of individual particles as they aggregate, disaggregate, sink, and are altered by chemical and biological processes. SLAMS considers the impacts of ballasting by mineral phases, binding of aggregates by transparent exopolymer particles (TEP), zooplankton grazing and the fractal geometry (porosity) of the aggregates. Parameterizations for age-dependent organic carbon (orgC) degradation kinetics, and disaggregation driven by zooplankton grazing and TEP degradation, are motivated by observed particle fluxes and size spectra throughout the water column. The model is able to explain observed variations in orgC export efficiency and rain ratio from the euphotic zone and to the sea floor as driven by sea surface temperature and the primary production rate and seasonality of primary production. The model provides a new mechanistic framework with which to predict future changes on the flux attenuation of orgC in response to climate change forcing.