Submitted as: model description paper 25 Oct 2021

Submitted as: model description paper | 25 Oct 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

Ocean biogeochemistry in the Canadian Earth System Model version 5.0.3: CanESM5 and CanESM5-CanOE

James R. Christian1,2, Kenneth L. Denman2,3, Hakase Hayashida3,a, Amber M. Holdsworth1, Warren G. Lee2, Olivier G. J. Riche3,b, Andrew E. Shao2,3, Nadja Steiner1,2, and Neil C. Swart2 James R. Christian et al.
  • 1Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Sidney, BC, Canada
  • 2Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, Victoria, BC, Canada
  • 3School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
  • anow at: the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  • bnow at: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Mont Joli, Québec, Canada

Abstract. The ocean biogeochemistry components of the Canadian Earth System Model v. 5 are presented and compared to observations and other models. CanESM5 employs the same biogeochemistry module as CanESM2 whereas CanESM5-CanOE (“Canadian Ocean Ecosystem model”) is a new, more complex biogeochemistry module developed for Sixth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6), with multiple food chains, flexible phytoplankton elemental ratios, and a prognostic iron cycle. This new model is described in detail and the outputs compared to CanESM5 and CanESM2, as well as to observations and other CMIP6 models. Both CanESM5 models show gains in skill relative to CanESM2, which are attributed primarily to improvements in ocean circulation. CanESM5-CanOE shows improved skill relative to CanESM5 in some areas. CanESM5-CanOE includes a prognostic iron cycle, and maintains high nutrient / low chlorophyll conditions in the expected regions (in CanESM2 and CanESM5, iron limitation is specified as a temporally static ‘mask’). Surface nitrate concentrations are biased low in the subarctic Pacific and equatorial Pacific, and high in the Southern Ocean. Export production in CanESM5-CanOE is among the lowest for CMIP6 models; in CanESM5 it is among the highest, but shows the most rapid decline after about 1980. CanESM5-CanOE has relatively low concentrations of zooplankton and detritus relative to phytoplankton, and a high and relatively constant living phytoplankton fraction of total particulate organic matter. In most regions, large and small phytoplankton show decoupled seasonal cycles with greater abundance of large phytoplankton in the productive seasons. Cumulative ocean uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide through 2014 is lower in both CanESM5 models than in observation-based estimates or the model ensemble mean, and is lower in CanESM5-CanOE (122 PgC) than in CanESM5 (132 PgC).

James R. Christian et al.

Status: open (until 20 Dec 2021)

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James R. Christian et al.

James R. Christian et al.


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Short summary
The ocean chemistry and biology modules of the latest version of the Canadian Earth System Model (CanESM5) are described in detail and evaluated against observations and other Earth System models. In the basic CanESM5 model, ocean biogeochemistry is similar to CanESM2 but embedded in a new ocean circulation model. In addition, an entirely new model, the Canadian Ocean Ecosystem model (CanESM5-CanOE), was developed. The most significant difference is that CanOE explicitly includes iron.