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Early Adopter

Dustin Carroll
Dustin Carroll
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, San José State University | Website

Applied Research Topic

The Data-assimilative, Global-ocean ECCO-Darwin Biogeochemistry Model
Co-PI: Dimitris Menemenlis, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

Potential Applications ECCO-Darwin global-ocean biogeochemistry model


We are developing a global-ocean biogeochemistry model, called ECCO-Darwin, that assimilates both physical and biogeochemical observations over multi-decadal timescales (1992–near present). ECCO-Darwin leverages interdisciplinary results from two well-established projects: 1) model physics and ocean circulation from the Estimating the Climate and Circulation of the Ocean (ECCO) Consortium and 2) a highly realistic ecosystem model from MIT Darwin Project. A novel aspect of ECCO-Darwin, which connects it directly to PACE, is that it includes the explicit radiative transfer of spectral irradiance. Therefore, the model can simulate the spectral absorption and scattering of water molecules, phytoplankton types, detritus, and colored dissolved organic matter; allowing for the direct assimilation of ocean color observations and generation of synthetic datasets for mission planning.


ECCO-Darwin provides an improved, data-constrained estimate of the ocean carbon sink, which can be used to better constrain estimates of the global carbon budget. This information is critical for quantifying uncertainty across the various carbon sources/sinks and informing policy and carbon mitigation strategies. We are also working with several groups to use ECCO-Darwin for simulating geo- and bioengineering (e.g., ocean alkalization and blue carbon) carbon mitigation experiments.


PACE data will be assimilated into ECCO-Darwin to improve the model representation of phytoplankton physiology, bloom timing, biological carbon uptake, and coastal runoff. The goal is direct assimilation of PACE level-2 or level-3 observations in global and regional configurations of ECCO-Darwin.

End User(s)

ECCO Consortium
Columbia University
California Institute of Technology- Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences

SAT Partner(s)

Cecile Rousseaux


Brix, H., D. Menemenlis, C. Hill, S. Dutkiewicz, O. Jahn, D. Wang, and H. Zhang, (2015), Using Green's Functions to initialize and adjust a global, eddying ocean biogeochemistry general circulation model, Ocean Modelling, 95, 1–14. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ocemod.2015.07.008.

Carroll, D., Menemenlis, Adkins, J.F., Bowman, K.W., Brix, H., Dutkiewicz, S., Gierach, M. M., Hill, C., Jahn, O., Landschützer, P., Lauderdale, J.M., Naviaux, J.D., Manizza, M., Rödenbeck, C., Schimel, D. S., Van der Stocken, T., Zhang, H, Seasonal to Multi-decadal Air-sea CO2 Fluxes from the Data-constrained ECCO-Darwin Global Ocean Biogeochemistry Model, Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems (in revision).

Dutkiewicz, S., Hickman, A. E., Jahn, O., Henson, S., Beaulieu, C., and E. Monier (2019), Ocean colour signature of climate change, Nature Communications, 10(1), 578. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-08457-x.

The Land-Ocean Aquatic Continuum
The Land-Ocean Aquatic Continuum (LOAC). Despite their importance in the Earth system carbon budget, land-to-ocean fluxes of carbon, freshwater, nutrients, and sediments have, to date, been neglected in global-ocean biogeochemistry models. A key focus of ECCO-Darwin is to better represent these processes in a data-assimilative modeling framework.
Darwin ocean ecosystem model driven by ECCO ocean circulation fields
Darwin ocean ecosystem model driven by ECCO ocean circulation fields. The model simulates 35 phytoplankton species, ranging in size from 0.6 to over 200 µm in equivalent spherical diameter and 16 zooplankton ranging from 6 to over 2000 µm in diameter. Colors show different groupings of phytoplankton functional types. This realistic, "survival of the fittest" ocean ecology is the basis of the ECCO-Darwin ocean biogeochemistry model, which uses a simplified ecosystem based on the most successful species in the above simulation.
Dominant phytoplankton types from 1994-1998 generated by the Darwin Project using a high-resolution ocean and ecosystem model
Visualization shows dominant phytoplankton types from 1994-1998 generated by the Darwin Project using a high-resolution ocean and ecosystem model. The model contains flow fields from 1994-1998 (generated by the ECCO2 model), inorganic nutrients, 78 species of phytoplankton, zooplankton, as well as particulate and dissolved organic matter. Colors represent the most dominant type of phytoplankton at a given location based on their size and ability to uptake nutrients. Red represents diatoms, yellow represents flagellates, green represents prochlorococcus, and cyan represents synechococcus.