Publication details.


Author(s):E. Ramírez-Romero, G. Jordà, A. Amores, S. Kay, M. Segura-Noguera, D. Macías, F. Maynou, A. Sabatés, I.A. Catalán
Title:Assessment of the Skill of Coupled Physical-Biogeochemical Models in the NW Mediterranean
Journal:Frontiers in Marine Science
JCR Impact Factor:4.912
Abstract:Numerical modeling is a key tool to complement the current physical and
biogeochemical observational datasets. It is essential for understanding the role
of oceanographic processes on marine food webs and producing climate change
projections of variables affecting key ecosystem functions. In this work, we evaluate the
horizontal and vertical patterns of four state-of-the-art coupled physical–biogeochemical
models, three of them already published. Two of the models include data assimilation,
physical and/or biological, and two do not. Simulations are compared to the most
exhaustive dataset of in situ observations in the North Western Mediterranean,
built ad hoc for this work, comprising gliders and conventional CTD surveys and
complemented with satellite observations. The analyses are performed both in the
whole domain and in four subregions (Catalan Shelf, Ebro Delta, Mallorca Channel,
and Ibiza Channel), characterized by a priori divergent primary production dynamics
and driving mechanisms. Overall, existing models offer a reasonable representation of
physical processes including stratification, surface temperature, and surface currents,
but it is shown that relatively small differences among them can lead to large differences
in the response of biogeochemical variables. Our results show that all models are
able to reproduce the main seasonal patterns of primary production both at the
upper layer and at the deep chlorophyll maximum (DCM), as well as the differential
behavior of the four subregions. However, there are significant discrepancies in the local
variability of the intensity of the winter mixing, phytoplankton blooms, or the intensity and
depth of the DCM. All model runs show markedly contrasting patterns of interannual
phytoplankton biomass in all four subregions. This lack of robustness should dissuade
end users from using them to fill gaps in time series observations without assessing
their appropriateness. Finally, we discuss the usability of these models for different
applications in marine ecology, including fishery oceanography.

Related staff

  • Ángel Miguel Amores Maimó
  • Ignacio A. Catalán Alemany
  • Related departments

  • Marine Ecology
  • Oceanography and Global Change
  • Related projects

  • CERES CTA 057