John Marshall

Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Oceanography, MIT

Evaluation of ocean carbon cycle models with data-based metrics

Evaluation of ocean carbon cycle models with data-based metrics.

(Matsumoto, K and Sarmiento, JL and Key, RM and Aumont, O and Bullister, JL and Caldeira, K and Campin, JM and Doney, SC and Drange, H and Dutay, JC and Follows, M and Gao, Y and Gnanadesikan, A and Gruber, N and Ishida, A and Joos, F and Lindsay, K and Maier-Reimer, E and Marshall, JC and Matear, RJ and Monfray, P and Mouchet, A and Najjar, R and Plattner, GK and Schlitzer, R and Slater, R and Swathi, PS and Totterdell, IJ and Weirig, MF and Yamanaka, Y and Yool, A and Orr, JC), GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, vol. 31, no. 7, 2004.


New radiocarbon and chlorofluorocarbon-11 data from the World Ocean Circulation Experiment are used to assess a suite of 19 ocean carbon cycle models. We use the distributions and inventories of these tracers as quantitative metrics of model skill and find that only about a quarter of the suite is consistent with the new data-based metrics. This should serve as a warning bell to the larger community that not all is well with current generation of ocean carbon cycle models. At the same time, this highlights the danger in simply using the available models to represent the state-of-the-art modeling without considering the credibility of each model.

doi = 10.1029/2003GL018970