Articles | Volume 9, issue 8
Development and technical paper
02 Aug 2016
Development and technical paper |  | 02 Aug 2016

Evaluation of NorESM-OC (versions 1 and 1.2), the ocean carbon-cycle stand-alone configuration of the Norwegian Earth System Model (NorESM1)

Jörg Schwinger, Nadine Goris, Jerry F. Tjiputra, Iris Kriest, Mats Bentsen, Ingo Bethke, Mehmet Ilicak, Karen M. Assmann, and Christoph Heinze

Abstract. Idealised and hindcast simulations performed with the stand-alone ocean carbon-cycle configuration of the Norwegian Earth System Model (NorESM-OC) are described and evaluated. We present simulation results of three different model configurations (two different model versions at different grid resolutions) using two different atmospheric forcing data sets. Model version NorESM-OC1 corresponds to the version that is included in the NorESM-ME1 fully coupled model, which participated in CMIP5. The main update between NorESM-OC1 and NorESM-OC1.2 is the addition of two new options for the treatment of sinking particles. We find that using a constant sinking speed, which has been the standard in NorESM's ocean carbon cycle module HAMOCC (HAMburg Ocean Carbon Cycle model), does not transport enough particulate organic carbon (POC) into the deep ocean below approximately 2000 m depth. The two newly implemented parameterisations, a particle aggregation scheme with prognostic sinking speed, and a simpler scheme that uses a linear increase in the sinking speed with depth, provide better agreement with observed POC fluxes. Additionally, reduced deep ocean biases of oxygen and remineralised phosphate indicate a better performance of the new parameterisations. For model version 1.2, a re-tuning of the ecosystem parameterisation has been performed, which (i) reduces previously too high primary production at high latitudes, (ii) consequently improves model results for surface nutrients, and (iii) reduces alkalinity and dissolved inorganic carbon biases at low latitudes. We use hindcast simulations with prescribed observed and constant (pre-industrial) atmospheric CO2 concentrations to derive the past and contemporary ocean carbon sink. For the period 1990–1999 we find an average ocean carbon uptake ranging from 2.01 to 2.58 Pg C yr−1 depending on model version, grid resolution, and atmospheric forcing data set.

Short summary
We present an evaluation of the ocean carbon cycle stand-alone configuration of the Norwegian Earth System Model. A re-tuning of the ecosystem parameterisation improves surface tracer fields between versions 1 and 1.2 of the model. Focus is placed on the evaluation of newly implemented parameterisations of the biological carbon pump (i.e. the sinking of particular organic carbon). We find that the model previously underestimated the carbon transport into the deep ocean below 2000 m depth.