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Free Content Sensitivity of ecosystem parameters to simulated satellite ocean color data using a coupled physical-biological model of the North Atlantic

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A means of assimilating simulated satellite ocean color data with a coupled physical-biological model of the North Atlantic Ocean is implemented, allowing the relative sensitivities of different biological parameters to those data to be investigated. The model consists of an eddy-permitting general circulation model derived from the WOCE Community Modeling Effort and a nitrogen-based, four-compartment NPZD marine ecosystem model. Many of the parameters in marine ecosystem models are poorly known and via assimilation, we hope to better constrain their values. The control parameters chosen for the variational assimilation are the model parameters involved in parameterizations of recycling as these are the most poorly known. Simulated observations are taken while following several floats seeded in varying dynamical biogeochemical provinces of the North Atlantic model domain over a six-month period. Twin experimental results show that, for the given functional forms of growth, mortality and grazing, the following parameters can be successfully recovered from simulated satellite ocean color data: nitrate and detrital recycling parameters in the trade wind domain, zooplankton parameters at higher latitudes (westerly wind and polar domains), and the phytoplankton mortality rate in all regions. By simultaneously assimilating ocean color data in different biological provinces, it becomes possible to successfully constrain all ecosystem parameters at once.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 1999

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  • The Journal of Marine Research publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. In the area of biology, studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. Authors benefit from thorough reviews of their manuscripts, where an attempt is made to maximize clarity. The time between submission and publication is kept to a minimum; there is no page charge.
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