Influence of GEOTRACES data distribution and misfit function choice on objective parameter retrieval in a marine zinc cycle model

Eisenring, Claudia; Oliver, Sophy E.; Khatiwala, Samar; de Souza, Gregory F.. 2022 Influence of GEOTRACES data distribution and misfit function choice on objective parameter retrieval in a marine zinc cycle model. Biogeosciences, 19 (21). 5079-5106.

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Biogeochemical model behaviour for micronutrients is typically hard to constrain because of the sparsity of observational data, the difficulty of determining parameters in situ, and uncertainties in observations and models. Here, we assess the influence of data distribution, model uncertainty, and the misfit function on objective parameter optimisation in a model of the oceanic cycle of zinc (Zn), an essential micronutrient for marine phytoplankton with a long whole-ocean residence time. We aim to investigate whether observational constraints are sufficient for reconstruction of biogeochemical model behaviour, given that the Zn data coverage provided by the GEOTRACES Intermediate Data Product 2017 is sparse. Furthermore, we aim to assess how optimisation results are affected by the choice of the misfit function and by confounding factors such as analytical uncertainty in the data or biases in the model related to either seasonal variability or the larger-scale circulation. The model framework applied herein combines a marine Zn cycling model with a state-of-the-art estimation of distribution algorithm (Covariance Matrix Adaption Evolution Strategy, CMA-ES) to optimise the model towards synthetic data in an ensemble of 26 optimisations. Provided with a target field that can be perfectly reproduced by the model, optimisation retrieves parameter values perfectly regardless of data coverage. As differences between the model and the system underlying the target field increase, the choice of the misfit function can greatly impact optimisation results, while limitation of data coverage is in most cases of subordinate significance. In cases where optimisation to full or limited data coverage produces relatively distinct model behaviours, we find that applying a misfit metric that compensates for differences in data coverage between ocean basins considerably improves agreement between optimisation results obtained with the two data situations.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1726-4189
Date made live: 06 Dec 2022 19:45 +0 (UTC)

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