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Journal articles

Bridging the gaps between particulate backscattering measurements and modeled particulate organic carbon in the ocean

Abstract : Oceanic particulate organic carbon (POC) is a small but dynamic component of the global carbon cycle. Biogeochemical models historically focused on reproducing the sinking flux of POC driven by large fast-sinking particles (LPOC). However, suspended and slow-sinking particles (SPOC, here < 100 µm) dominate the total POC (TPOC) stock, support a large fraction of microbial respiration, and can make sizable contributions to vertical fluxes.

Recent developments in the parameterization of POC reactivity in PISCES (Pelagic Interactions Scheme for Carbon and Ecosystem Studies model; PISCESv2_RC) have improved its ability to capture POC dynamics. Here we evaluated this model by matching a global 3D simulation and 1D simulations at 50 different locations with observations made from biogeochemical (BGC-) Argo floats and satellites. Our evaluation covers globally representative biomes between 0 and 1000 m depth and relies on (1) a refined scheme for converting particulate backscattering at 700 nm (bbp700) to POC, based on biome-dependent POC / bbp700 ratios in the surface layer that decrease to an asymptotic value at depth; (2) a novel approach for matching annual time series of BGC-Argo vertical profiles to PISCES 1D simulations forced by pre-computed vertical mixing fields; and (3) a critical evaluation of the correspondence between in situ measurements of POC fractions, PISCES model tracers, and SPOC and LPOC estimated from high vertical resolution bbp700 profiles through a separation of the baseline and spike signals.

We show that PISCES captures the major features of SPOC and LPOC across a range of spatiotemporal scales, from highly resolved profile time series to biome-aggregated climatological profiles. Model-observation agreement is usually better in the epipelagic (0-200 m) than in the mesopelagic (200-1000 m), with SPOC showing overall higher spatiotemporal correlation and smaller deviation (typically within a factor of 1.5). Still, annual mean LPOC stocks estimated from PISCES and BGC-Argo are highly correlated across biomes, especially in the epipelagic (r=0.78; n=50). Estimates of the SPOC / TPOC fraction converge around a median of 85 % (range 66 %-92 %) globally. Distinct patterns of model-observations misfits are found in subpolar and subtropical gyres, pointing to the need to better resolve the interplay between sinking, remineralization, and SPOC-LPOC interconversion in PISCES. Our analysis also indicates that a widely used satellite algorithm overestimates POC severalfold at high latitudes during the winter. The approaches proposed here can help constrain the stocks, and ultimately budgets, of oceanic POC.

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Submitted on : Saturday, May 7, 2022 - 6:37:07 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, May 10, 2022 - 3:29:15 AM


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Martí Galí, Marcus Falls, Hervé Claustre, Olivier Aumont, Raffaele Bernardello. Bridging the gaps between particulate backscattering measurements and modeled particulate organic carbon in the ocean. Biogeosciences, 2022, 19, pp.1245-1275. ⟨10.5194/bg-19-1245-2022⟩. ⟨insu-03661716⟩



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