Biogeochemical timescales of climate change onset and recovery in the North Atlantic interior under rapid atmospheric CO2 forcing
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Geophysical Research (JGR): Oceans. 2022, 127 (4), 1-22. 10.1029/2021JC017929
Anthropogenic climate change footprints in the ocean go beyond the mixed layer depth, with considerable impacts throughout mesopelagic and deep-ocean ecosystems. Yet, little is known about the timing of these environmental changes, their spatial extent, and the associated timescales of recovery in the ocean interior when strong mitigation strategies are involved. Here, we simulate idealized rapid climate change and mitigation scenarios using the Norwegian Earth System Model to investigate timescales of climate change onset and recovery and the extent of change in the North Atlantic (NAtl) interior relative to Pre-industrial (PI) variability across a suite of environmental drivers (Temperature—Temp; pH; Dissolved Oxygen—DO; Apparent Oxygen Utilization—AOU; Export Production—EP; and Calcite saturation state—Ωc). We show that, below the subsurface domains, responses of these drivers are asymmetric and detached from the anthropogenic forcing with large spatial variations. Vast regions of the interior NAtl experience detectable anthropogenic signals significantly earlier and over a longer period than those projected for the near-surface. In contrast to surface domains, the NAtl interior remains largely warmer relative to PI (up to +50%) following the mitigation scenario, with anomalously lower EP, pH, and Ωc (up to −20%) south of 30°N. Oxygen overshoot in the upper mesopelagic of up to +20% is simulated, mainly driven by a decrease in consumption during remineralization. Our study highlights the need for long-term commitment focused on pelagic and deep-water ecosystem monitoring to fully understand the impact of anthropogenic climate change on the North Atlantic biogeochemistry.