Exploring the Red Sea seasonal ecosystem functioning using a three-dimensional biophysical model
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Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, ISSN: 2169-9275, Vol: 119, Issue: 3, Page: 1791-1811
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- Earth and Planetary Sciences; Agricultural and Biological Sciences; Environmental Science
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The Red Sea exhibits complex hydrodynamic and biogeochemical dynamics, which vary both in time and space. These dynamics have been explored through the development and application of a 3-D ecosystem model. The simulation system comprises two off-line coupled submodels: the MIT General Circulation Model (MITgcm) and the European Regional Seas Ecosystem Model (ERSEM), both adapted for the Red Sea. The results from an annual simulation under climatological forcing are presented. Simulation results are in good agreement with satellite and in situ data illustrating the role of the physical processes in determining the evolution and variability of the Red Sea ecosystem. The model was able to reproduce the main features of the Red Sea ecosystem functioning, including the exchange with the Gulf of Aden, which is a major driving mechanism for the whole Red Sea ecosystem and the winter overturning taking place in the north. Some model limitations, mainly related to the dynamics of the extended reef system located in the southern part of the Red Sea, which is not currently represented in the model, still need to be addressed. © 2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.