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Twentieth-century oceanic carbon uptake and storage in CESM1(BGC)


Ocean carbon uptake and storage simulated by the Community Earth System Model, version 1-Biogeochemistry [CESM1(BGC)], is described and compared to observations. Fully coupled and ocean-ice configurations are examined; both capture many aspects of the spatial structure and seasonality of surface carbon fields. Nearly ubiquitous negative biases in surface alkalinity result from the prescribed carbonate dissolution profile. The modeled sea-air CO2 fluxes match observationally based estimates over much of the ocean; significant deviations appear in the Southern Ocean. Surface ocean pCO2 is biased high in the subantarctic and low in the sea ice zone. Formation of the water masses dominating anthropogenic CO2 (Cant) uptake in the Southern Hemisphere is weak in the model, leading to significant negative biases in Cant and chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) storage at intermediate depths. Column inventories of Cant appear too high, by contrast, in the North Atlantic. In spite of the positive bias, this marks an improvement over prior versions of the model, which underestimated North Atlantic uptake. The change in behavior is attributable to a new parameterization of density-driven overflows. CESM1(BGC) provides a relatively robust representation of the ocean-carbon cycle response to climate variability. Statistical metrics of modeled interannual variability in sea-air CO2 fluxes compare reasonably well to observationally based estimates. The carbon cycle response to key modes of climate variability is basically similar in the coupled and forced ocean-ice models; however, the two differ in regional detail and in the strength of teleconnections. © 2013 American Meteorological Society.

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