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      Twenty-first century ocean warming, acidification, deoxygenation, and upper-ocean nutrient and primary production decline from CMIP6 model projections

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          Abstract

          Abstract. Anthropogenic climate change is projected to lead to ocean warming, acidification, deoxygenation, reductions in near-surface nutrients, and changes to primary production, all of which are expected to affect marine ecosystems. Here we assess projections of these drivers of environmental change over the twenty-first century from Earth system models (ESMs) participating in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) that were forced under the CMIP6 Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs). Projections are compared to those from the previous generation (CMIP5) forced under the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). A total of 10 CMIP5 and 13 CMIP6 models are used in the two multi-model ensembles. Under the high-emission scenario SSP5-8.5, the multi-model global mean change (2080–2099 mean values relative to 1870–1899) ± the inter-model SD in sea surface temperature, surface pH, subsurface (100–600 m) oxygen concentration, euphotic (0–100 m) nitrate concentration, and depth-integrated primary production is +3.47±0.78 ∘C, -0.44±0.005, -13.27±5.28, -1.06±0.45 mmol m−3 and -2.99±9.11 %, respectively. Under the low-emission, high-mitigation scenario SSP1-2.6, the corresponding global changes are +1.42±0.32 ∘C, -0.16±0.002, -6.36±2.92, -0.52±0.23 mmol m−3, and -0.56±4.12 %. Projected exposure of the marine ecosystem to these drivers of ocean change depends largely on the extent of future emissions, consistent with previous studies. The ESMs in CMIP6 generally project greater warming, acidification, deoxygenation, and nitrate reductions but lesser primary production declines than those from CMIP5 under comparable radiative forcing. The increased projected ocean warming results from a general increase in the climate sensitivity of CMIP6 models relative to those of CMIP5. This enhanced warming increases upper-ocean stratification in CMIP6 projections, which contributes to greater reductions in upper-ocean nitrate and subsurface oxygen ventilation. The greater surface acidification in CMIP6 is primarily a consequence of the SSPs having higher associated atmospheric CO2 concentrations than their RCP analogues for the same radiative forcing. We find no consistent reduction in inter-model uncertainties, and even an increase in net primary production inter-model uncertainties in CMIP6, as compared to CMIP5.

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          An Overview of CMIP5 and the Experiment Design

          The fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) will produce a state-of-the- art multimodel dataset designed to advance our knowledge of climate variability and climate change. Researchers worldwide are analyzing the model output and will produce results likely to underlie the forthcoming Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Unprecedented in scale and attracting interest from all major climate modeling groups, CMIP5 includes “long term” simulations of twentieth-century climate and projections for the twenty-first century and beyond. Conventional atmosphere–ocean global climate models and Earth system models of intermediate complexity are for the first time being joined by more recently developed Earth system models under an experiment design that allows both types of models to be compared to observations on an equal footing. Besides the longterm experiments, CMIP5 calls for an entirely new suite of “near term” simulations focusing on recent decades and the future to year 2035. These “decadal predictions” are initialized based on observations and will be used to explore the predictability of climate and to assess the forecast system's predictive skill. The CMIP5 experiment design also allows for participation of stand-alone atmospheric models and includes a variety of idealized experiments that will improve understanding of the range of model responses found in the more complex and realistic simulations. An exceptionally comprehensive set of model output is being collected and made freely available to researchers through an integrated but distributed data archive. For researchers unfamiliar with climate models, the limitations of the models and experiment design are described.
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            Ocean acidification: the other CO2 problem.

            Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), primarily from human fossil fuel combustion, reduces ocean pH and causes wholesale shifts in seawater carbonate chemistry. The process of ocean acidification is well documented in field data, and the rate will accelerate over this century unless future CO2 emissions are curbed dramatically. Acidification alters seawater chemical speciation and biogeochemical cycles of many elements and compounds. One well-known effect is the lowering of calcium carbonate saturation states, which impacts shell-forming marine organisms from plankton to benthic molluscs, echinoderms, and corals. Many calcifying species exhibit reduced calcification and growth rates in laboratory experiments under high-CO2 conditions. Ocean acidification also causes an increase in carbon fixation rates in some photosynthetic organisms (both calcifying and noncalcifying). The potential for marine organisms to adapt to increasing CO2 and broader implications for ocean ecosystems are not well known; both are high priorities for future research. Although ocean pH has varied in the geological past, paleo-events may be only imperfect analogs to current conditions.
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              The central role of diminishing sea ice in recent Arctic temperature amplification.

              The rise in Arctic near-surface air temperatures has been almost twice as large as the global average in recent decades-a feature known as 'Arctic amplification'. Increased concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases have driven Arctic and global average warming; however, the underlying causes of Arctic amplification remain uncertain. The roles of reductions in snow and sea ice cover and changes in atmospheric and oceanic circulation, cloud cover and water vapour are still matters of debate. A better understanding of the processes responsible for the recent amplified warming is essential for assessing the likelihood, and impacts, of future rapid Arctic warming and sea ice loss. Here we show that the Arctic warming is strongest at the surface during most of the year and is primarily consistent with reductions in sea ice cover. Changes in cloud cover, in contrast, have not contributed strongly to recent warming. Increases in atmospheric water vapour content, partly in response to reduced sea ice cover, may have enhanced warming in the lower part of the atmosphere during summer and early autumn. We conclude that diminishing sea ice has had a leading role in recent Arctic temperature amplification. The findings reinforce suggestions that strong positive ice-temperature feedbacks have emerged in the Arctic, increasing the chances of further rapid warming and sea ice loss, and will probably affect polar ecosystems, ice-sheet mass balance and human activities in the Arctic.
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                Journal
                Biogeosciences
                Biogeosciences
                Copernicus GmbH
                1726-4189
                2020
                July 06 2020
                : 17
                : 13
                : 3439-3470
                Article
                10.5194/bg-17-3439-2020
                93e4cff8-bcba-4fd5-8093-9b8c5c04b84f
                © 2020

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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