School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

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Interannual variations in marine net primary production (NPP) contribute to the variability of available living marine resources, as well as influence critical carbon cycle processes. Here we provide a global overview of near-term (1 to 10 years) potential predictability of marine NPP using a novel set of initialized retrospective decadal forecasts from an Earth System Model. Interannual variations in marine NPP are potentially predictable in many areas of the ocean 1 to 3 years in advance, from temperate waters to the tropics, showing a substantial improvement over a simple persistence forecast. However, some regions, such as the subpolar Southern Ocean, show low potential predictability.We analyze how bottom-up drivers of marine NPP (nutrients, light, and temperature) contribute to its predictability. Regions where NPP is primarily driven by the physical supply of nutrients (e.g., subtropics) retain higher potential predictability than high-latitude regions where NPP is controlled by light and/or temperature (e.g., the Southern Ocean).We further examine NPP predictability in the world's Large Marine Ecosystems. With a few exceptions, we show that initialized forecasts improve potential predictability of NPP in Large Marine Ecosystems over a persistence forecast and may aid to manage living marine resources.


©2020. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Original published version available at

Publication Title

Global Biogeochemical Cycles





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