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Simulating aggregate dynamics in ocean biogeochemical models

Jackson, George A., Burd, Adrian B.
Progress in oceanography 2015 v.133 pp. 55-65
coagulation, field experimentation, mechanistic models, prediction, scientists, trace elements
The dynamics of elements in the water column is complex, depending on multiple biological and physical processes operating at very different physical scales. Coagulation of particulate material is important for transforming particles and moving them in the water column. Mechanistic models of coagulation processes provide a means to predict these processes, help interpret observations, and provide insight into the processes occurring. However, most model applications have focused on describing simple marine systems and mechanisms. We argue that further model development, in close collaboration with field and experimental scientists, is required in order to extend the models to describe the large-scale elemental distributions and interactions being studied as part of GEOTRACES. Models that provide a fundamental description of trace element–particle interactions are required as are experimental tests of the mechanisms involved and the predictions arising from models. However, a comparison between simple and complicated models of aggregation and trace metal provides a means for understanding the implications of simplifying assumptions and providing guidance as to which simplifications are needed.