Understanding and quantitative projections of climate impacts on living marine resources
will require sustained observations of the natural system as well as a modeling framework that
represents the physics and the biology, at scales that capture variability within each sub-system. In
the ocean, coupled physical-biogeochemical models have recently matured both in global and
regional implementations and are more commonly implemented as part of Earth system models.
This proposed project builds on the recent development of a limited-area version of the
NOAA GFDL MOM6 ocean model. The Curchitser Lab and collaborators at Rutgers University
together with the NOAA GFDL ocean modeling section have been developing the capability to run
MOM6 in regional configurations. This involves the implementation of new data structures and
algorithms for open boundary conditions. The development permits the consistent (both in physics
and biogeochemistry) downscaling of global Earth System model simulations to drive regional,
high-resolution coastal models that are needed to adequately represent the variability of coastal
By further developing downscaling methodologies for coupled bio-physical coastal models
and continued development of the MOM6 model for regional configurations we can deliver a
framework for the community to research predictions of climate and marine ecosystems. Such a
system is necessary for investigating past variability and potential future changes of regional
physics, biogeochemistry, lower trophic level productivity and linkages to prediction of fisheries.
Furthermore, the proposed work will provide new insight into how previously unresolved regional-
scale physical-biological processes may alter, or reverse, trends predicted by global-scale models.
Specifically, we will use a high-resolution coupled physical-biogeochemical model for the
Northwest Atlantic and California Current System to address questions and build capacity for
understanding and predicting climate-ecosystem interactions. This system will be based on an
existing coupled implementation of the regional NOAA-GFDL MOM6 ocean circulation model and
the Carbon, Ocean Biogeochemistry and Lower Trophics (COBALT) biogeochemical model. First,
will carry out multi-decadal hindcast simulations in each of the systems. Second, we will carry out
a small ensemble of downscaled physical-biological projections forced by output from selected
CMIP6 Earth System Models and analyze the regional projections for changes in dynamical
pathways and trends in carbon and oxygen, which have significant impact on ecosystems.
The work proposed here directly addresses the funding opportunity priority research area of
Development and application of high-resolution, coupled, regional climate ocean-ecosystem
models to provide past and future projections for improving our understanding of climate impacts
on fish stock. It brings together academic and NOAA scientists and leverages several ongoing
efforts. The strengths and limitations of these systems, revealed through the analysis within this
proposal and the applications it supports, are essential to ensuring the utility of a regional climate
downscaling framework for marine resource applications.
Finally, this effort proposes to lead a task force of other funded proposals under the current
call to review common practices in research at the intersection of climate and marine ecosystems
and make recommendations for future directions.
Climate Risk Area: Marine Ecosystems