Volume 15, issue 10 | Copyright

Special issue: Progress in quantifying ocean biogeochemistry – in honour...

Biogeosciences, 15, 3243-3266, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 01 Jun 2018

Research article | 01 Jun 2018

Climate and marine biogeochemistry during the Holocene from transient model simulations

Joachim Segschneider1, Birgit Schneider1, and Vyacheslav Khon1,2,a Joachim Segschneider et al.
  • 1Institute of Geosciences, Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel, Ludewig-Meyn-Str. 10, 24118 Kiel, Germany
  • 2A. M. Obukhov Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
  • anow at: GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany

Abstract. Climate and marine biogeochemistry changes over the Holocene are investigated based on transient global climate and biogeochemistry model simulations over the last 9500 years. The simulations are forced by accelerated and non-accelerated orbital parameters, respectively, and atmospheric pCO2, CH4, and N2O. The analysis focusses on key climatic parameters of relevance to the marine biogeochemistry, and on the physical and biogeochemical processes that drive atmosphere–ocean carbon fluxes and changes in the oxygen minimum zones (OMZs). The simulated global mean ocean temperature is characterized by a mid-Holocene cooling and a late Holocene warming, a common feature among Holocene climate simulations which, however, contradicts a proxy-derived mid-Holocene climate optimum. As the most significant result, and only in the non-accelerated simulation, we find a substantial increase in volume of the OMZ in the eastern equatorial Pacific (EEP) continuing into the late Holocene. The concurrent increase in apparent oxygen utilization (AOU) and age of the water mass within the EEP OMZ can be attributed to a weakening of the deep northward inflow into the Pacific. This results in a large-scale mid-to-late Holocene increase in AOU in most of the Pacific and hence the source regions of the EEP OMZ waters. The simulated expansion of the EEP OMZ raises the question of whether the deoxygenation that has been observed over the last 5 decades could be a – perhaps accelerated – continuation of an orbitally driven decline in oxygen. Changes in global mean biological production and export of detritus remain of the order of 10%, with generally lower values in the mid-Holocene. The simulated atmosphere–ocean CO2 flux would result in atmospheric pCO2 changes of similar magnitudes to those observed for the Holocene, but with different timing. More technically, as the increase in EEP OMZ volume can only be simulated with the non-accelerated model simulation, non-accelerated model simulations are required for an analysis of the marine biogeochemistry in the Holocene. Notably, the long control experiment also displays similar magnitude variability to the transient experiment for some parameters. This indicates that also long control runs are required when investigating Holocene climate and marine biogeochemistry, and that some of the Holocene variations could be attributed to internal variability of the atmosphere–ocean system.

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To gain a better understanding of climate and marine biogeochemistry variations over the last 9500 years (the Holocene), we performed non-accelerated model simulations with a global coupled climate and biogeochemistry model forced by orbital parameters and atmospheric greenhouse gases. One main outcome is an increase in the volume of the eastern equatorial Pacific oxygen minimum zone, driven by a slowdown of the large-scale circulation.
To gain a better understanding of climate and marine biogeochemistry variations over the last...