Articles | Volume 12, issue 3
Earth Syst. Dynam., 12, 797–818, 2021
Earth Syst. Dynam., 12, 797–818, 2021

Research article 14 Jul 2021

Research article | 14 Jul 2021

Resolving ecological feedbacks on the ocean carbon sink in Earth system models

David I. Armstrong McKay et al.

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Cited articles

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Armstrong, R. A., Lee, C., Hedges, J. I., Honjo, S., and Wakeham, S. G.: A new, mechanistic model for organic carbon fluxes in the ocean based on the quantitative association of POC with ballast minerals, Deep-Sea Res. Pt. II, 49, 219–236,, 2001. 
Arora, V. K., Boer, G. J., Christian, J. R., Curry, C. L., Denman, K. L., Zahariev, K., Flato, G. M., Scinocca, J. F., Merryfield, W. J., and Lee, W. G.: The Effect of Terrestrial Photosynthesis Down Regulation on the Twentieth-Century Carbon Budget Simulated with the CCCma Earth System Model, J. Clim., 22, 6066–6088,, 2009. 
Arora, V. K., Scinocca, J. F., Boer, G. J., Christian, J. R., Denman, K. L., Flato, G. M., Kharin, V. V, Lee, W. G., and Merryfield, W. J.: Carbon emission limits required to satisfy future representative concentration pathways of greenhouse gases, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38,, 2011. 
Arora, V. K., Boer, G. J., Friedlingstein, P., Eby, M., Jones, C. D., Christian, J. R., Bonan, G., Bopp, L., Brovkin, V., Cadule, P., Hajima, T., Ilyina, T., Lindsay, K., Tjiputra, J. F., and Wu, T.: Carbon-concentration and carbon-climate feedbacks in CMIP5 earth system models, J. Climate, 26(15), 5289–5314,, 2013. 
Short summary
We use an Earth system model with two new ocean ecosystem features (plankton size traits and temperature-sensitive nutrient recycling) to revaluate the effect of climate change on sinking organic carbon (the biological pump) and the ocean carbon sink. These features lead to contrary pump responses to warming, with a combined effect of a smaller sink despite a more resilient pump. These results show the importance of including ecological dynamics in models for understanding climate feedbacks.
Final-revised paper