11 Jul 2023
 | 11 Jul 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Implementing a coral reef CaCO3 production module in the iLOVECLIM climate model

Nathaelle Bouttes, Lester Kwiatkowski, Manon Berger, Victor Brovkin, and Guy Munhoven

Abstract. Coral reef development is intricately linked to both climate and the concentration of atmospheric CO2, specifically through temperature and carbonate chemistry in the upper ocean. In turn, the calcification of corals modifies the concentration of dissolved inorganic carbon and total alkalinity in the ocean, impacting air-sea gas exchange, atmospheric CO2 concentration, and ultimately the climate. This retroaction between atmospheric conditions and coral biogeochemistry can only be accounted for with a coupled coral-carbon-climate model. Here we present the implementation of a coral reef calcification module into an Earth System model. Simulated coral reef production of the calcium carbonate mineral aragonite depends on photosynthetically active radiation, nutrient concentrations, salinity, temperature and the aragonite saturation state. An ensemble of 210 parameter perturbation simulations was performed to identify carbonate production parameter values that optimise the simulated distribution of coral reefs and associated carbonate production. The tuned model simulates the presence of coral reefs and regional-to-global carbonate production values in good agreement with data-based estimates. The model enables assessment of past and future coral-climate coupling on seasonal to millennial timescales, highlighting how climatic trends and variability may affect reef development and the resulting climate-carbon feedback.

Nathaelle Bouttes et al.

Status: open (until 25 Oct 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Quick comment on PAR data', Jean-Pierre Gattuso, 21 Jul 2023 reply
  • CEC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1162', Juan Antonio Añel, 03 Aug 2023 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on CEC1', Nathaelle Bouttes, 24 Aug 2023 reply
    • CC2: 'Reply on CEC1', Didier Roche, 28 Aug 2023 reply
      • CEC2: 'Reply on CC2', Juan Antonio Añel, 28 Aug 2023 reply
  • CC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1162', David Archer, 20 Sep 2023 reply

Nathaelle Bouttes et al.

Nathaelle Bouttes et al.


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Short summary
Coral reefs are crucial for biodiversity, but they also play a role in the carbon cycle on long time scales of a few thousand years. To better simulate the future and past evolution of coral reefs and their effect on the global carbon cycle, hence on atmospheric CO2 concentration, it is necessary to include coral reefs within a climate model. Here we describe the inclusion of coral reef carbonate production in a carbon-climate model and its validation in comparison to existing modern data.