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Shelf Seas Modelling Programme

About the project

The shelf seas modelling programme will build upon the considerable expertise in shelf sea biogeochemical and physical modelling available in the UK to develop a new shelf biogeochemical model system for use by the UK science community. This will be based on the existing ERSEM shelf seas biogeochemistry model. It will ensure that the ocean biogeochemical model developments necessary to achieve our priorities receive support from the broader community, including modellers, biogeochemists and oceanographers. The legacy will be a state of the art model tool to support scientific research, operational oceanography and marine policy (e.g. Marine Strategy Framework Directive, and Marine and Climate Acts).

The program will address a range of key scientific questions, which provide a framework for model development, simulation experiments and analysis. These will also inform the design of the observational and experimental elements of the Shelf Seas biogeochemistry programme.

  • How does the interaction between stratification and turbulence on tidal to seasonal scales impact shelf scale biogeochemical budgets, especially on decadal timescales?
  • What controls plankton community structure at seasonal and interannual timescales, and how does this structure impact on the composition of detrital material and hence the amount, quality and rate of supply to the benthos.
  • At what temporal /spatial scales and in which regions does calcification exert a significant impact on the shelf seas inorganic carbon budget?
  • Do microbial loop dynamics impose a control on the recycling of C, N, and P in benthic and pelagic systems?
  • What is the influence of zooplankton in controlling the biogeochemical cycling of shelf seas?
  • Are shelf scale biogeochemical budgets sensitive to changes in physical processes acting at the benthic pelagic interface?
  • Are shelf seas biogeochemical budgets sensitive to changes in benthic community structure and activity?
  • Are the UK shelf seas a source or sink for climatically active gases; specifically CO2 and N2O?

Finally, in order to aid interpretation of model predictions we will assess what determines and potentially limits the model’s capability to predict the various components of the marine ecosystem (including physics, pelagic and benthic processes)?