31 May 2023
 | 31 May 2023

Intra-scenario variability of trends and controls of near-bed oxygen concentration on the Northwest European Continental Shelf under climate change

Giovanni Galli, Sarah Wakelin, James Harle, Jason Holt, and Yuri Artioli

Abstract. We present an analysis of the evolution of near-bed oxygen in the next century in the Northwest European Continental Shelf in a three-member ensemble of coupled physics-biogeochemistry models. The comparison between model results helps highlighting the biogeochemical mechanisms responsible for the observed deoxygenation trends and their response to climate drivers.

While all models predict a decrease in near bed oxygen proportional to climate change intensity, the response is spatially heterogeneous, with hotspots of oxygen decline in the members with the most intense change, as well as areas where compensating mechanisms mitigate change.

We separate the components of oxygen change associated to the warming effect on oxygen solubility from those due to the effects of changes in transport and ecosystem processes. We find that while warming is responsible for a mostly uniform decline throughout the shelf, changes in transport and ecosystem processes account for the detected heterogeneity.

Hotspots of deoxygenation are associated with enhanced stratification that greatly reduces vertical transport. A major change in circulation in the North Sea is responsible for the onset of one such hotspot in the members characterised by intense climate change.

Conversely, relatively shallow and well mixed coastal areas in the south experience an increase in net primary production that partially mitigates oxygen decline in all members.

This work represents the first multi-model comparison addressing deoxygenation in the Northwest European Shelf and contributes to the understanding of the processes that drive deoxygenation in continental shelf ecosystems.

Giovanni Galli et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1049', Anonymous Referee #1, 12 Jun 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', giovanni galli, 28 Jul 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1049', Anonymous Referee #2, 20 Jun 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', giovanni galli, 28 Jul 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1049', Anonymous Referee #3, 03 Jul 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', giovanni galli, 28 Jul 2023

Giovanni Galli et al.

Giovanni Galli et al.


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Short summary
In this work we looked at the projected change in bottom water oxygen content in an ensemble of ocean climate change models of the North Western European Shelf. What emerged is that, 1. oxygen decreases in all models, 2. in the models with the most warming, a change in circulation patterns is tied to the emergence of low oxygen hotspots in the Eastern North Sea, and, 3. in relatively shallow coastal areas increasing in primary production partially mitigates oxygen decline.