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Using genetic algorithms to calibrate a dimethylsulfide production model in the Arctic ocean

Qu, Bo, Gabric, Albert J.
Chinese journal of oceanology and limnology 2010 v.28 no.3 pp. 573-582
General Circulation Models, aerosols, algae, algorithms, carbon dioxide, chlorophyll, climate, data collection, dimethyl sulfide, energy balance, global warming, heat, ice, meteorological data, oceans, satellites, sulfates, surface water temperature, Arctic region, Barents Sea
The global climate is intimately connected to changes in the polar oceans. The variability of sea ice coverage affects deep-water formations and large-scale thermohaline circulation patterns. The polar radiative budget is sensitive to sea-ice loss and consequent surface albedo changes. Aerosols and polar cloud microphysics are crucial players in the radiative energy balance of the Arctic Ocean. The main biogenic source of sulfate aerosols to the atmosphere above remote seas is dimethylsulfide (DMS). Recent research suggests the flux of DMS to the Arctic atmosphere may change markedly under global warming. This paper describes climate data and DMS production (based on the five years from 1998 to 2002) in the region of the Barents Sea (30–35°E and 70–80°N). A DMS model is introduced together with an updated calibration method. A genetic algorithm is used to calibrate the chlorophyll-a (CHL) measurements (based on satellite SeaWiFS data) and DMS content (determined from cruise data collected in the Arctic). Significant interannual variation of the CHL amount leads to significant interannual variability in the observed and modeled production of DMS in the study region. Strong DMS production in 1998 could have been caused by a large amount of ice algae being released in the southern region. Forcings from a general circulation model (CSIRO Mk3) were applied to the calibrated DMS model to predict the zonal mean sea-to-air flux of DMS for contemporary and enhanced greenhouse conditions at 70–80°N. It was found that significantly decreasing ice coverage, increasing sea surface temperature and decreasing mixed-layer depth could lead to annual DMS flux increases of more than 100% by the time of equivalent CO₂ tripling (the year 2080). This significant perturbation in the aerosol climate could have a large impact on the regional Arctic heat budget and consequences for global warming.