Mapping manifestations of parametric uncertainty in projected pelagic oxygen concentrations back to contemporary local model fidelity

Pelagic biogeochemical models (BGCMs) have matured into generic components of Earth System Models. BGCMs mimic the effects of marine biota on oceanic nutrient, carbon and oxygen cycles. They rely on parameters that are adjusted to match observed conditions. Such parameters are key to determining the models' responses to changing environmental conditions. However, many of these parameters are difficult to constrain and constitute a major source of uncertainty in BGCM projections. Here we use, for the first time, variance-based sensitivity analyses to map BGCM parameter uncertainties onto their respective local manifestation in model entities (such as oceanic oxygen concentrations) for both contemporary climate and climate projections. The mapping effectively relates local uncertainties of projections to the uncertainty of specific parameters. Further, it identifies contemporary benchmarking regions, where the uncertainties of specific parameters manifest themselves, thereby facilitating an effective parameter refinement and a reduction of the associated uncertainty. Our results demonstrate that the parameters that are linked to uncertainties in projections may differ from those parameters that facilitate model conformity with present-day observations. In summary, we present a practical approach to the general question of where present-day model fidelity may be indicative for reliable projections.


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