Articles | Volume 21, issue 1
31 Jan 2003
 | 31 Jan 2003

Calibration and validation of a one-dimensional complex marine biogeochemical flux model in different areas of the northern Adriatic shelf

M. Vichi, P. Oddo, M. Zavatarelli, A. Coluccelli, G. Coppini, M. Celio, S. Fonda Umani, and N. Pinardi

Abstract. In this paper we show results from numerical simulations carried out with a complex biogeochemical fluxes model coupled with a one-dimensional high-resolution hydrodynamical model and implemented at three different locations of the northern Adriatic shelf. One location is directly affected by the Po River influence, one has more open-sea characteristics and one is located in the Gulf of Trieste with an intermediate behavior; emphasis is put on the comparison with observations and on the functioning of the northern Adriatic ecosystem in the three areas. The work has been performed in a climatological context and has to be considered as preliminary to the development of three-dimensional numerical simulations. Biogeochemical model parameterizations have been ameliorated with a detailed description of bacterial substrate utilization associated with the quality of the dissolved organic matter (DOM), in order to improve the models capability in capturing the observed DOM dynamics in the basin. The coupled model has been calibrated and validated at the three locations by means of climatological data sets. Results show satisfactory model behavior in simulating local seasonal dynamics in the limit of the available boundary conditions and the one-dimensional implementation. Comparisons with available measurements of primary and bacterial production and bacterial abundances have been performed in all locations. Model simulated rates and bacterial dynamics are in the same order of magnitude of observations and show a qualitatively correct time evolution. The importance of temperature as a factor controlling bacteria efficiency is investigated with sensitivity experiments on the model parameterizations.

The different model behavior and pelagic ecosystem structure developed by the model at the three locations can be attributed to the local hydrodynamical features and interactions with external inputs of nutrients. The onset of the winter/spring bloom in the climatological simulations is primarily driven by local stratification conditions. During summer the major carbon-transfer pathway developed by the model is the microbial web at all the sites, indicating that a large fraction of organic matter is processed through bacteria during productive periods, as suggested by field observations. The site directly influenced by riverine inputs differs from the others, showing a more alternate shifting among trophic pathways. Applying the conceptual scheme proposed by Legendre and Rassoulzadegan (Ophelia, 41, 153-172, 1995), it can be recognized as a herbivorous spring phase tightly followed by a microbial loop development, a summer microbial web phase and a multivorous trophic web pattern during autumn with a subsequent recovery of microbial processes. Results are discussed in terms of regime shifting from transient to stable water column conditions.

Key words. Oceanography: general (continental shelf processes; numerical modelling) – Oceanography: biological and chemical (biochemistry and food chains)