Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 75, Issue 5, pp 441–462 | Cite as

CMIP5 model analysis of future changes in ocean net primary production focusing on differences among individual oceans and models

  • Yuki Nakamura
  • Akira OkaEmail author
Original Article


Previous modeling studies have shown that global primary production will decrease in the future because stratification caused by global warming will reduce the supply of nutrients from the deep ocean. Previous studies have primarily emphasized the importance of nutrient limitation when explaining changes in primary production; however, phytoplankton growth is actually determined by temperature, light, and nutrient limitations. Moreover, although future changes in primary production differ depending on the area, it is not well understood how these mechanisms differ among oceans. The purpose of this study is to quantitatively evaluate the contribution of each limitation factor to explaining future changes in primary production in individual oceans using nine Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) models. First, for each model, we calculate the temperature, light, and nutrient limitations, which are not directly available from CMIP5 output data. Next, we quantitatively evaluate the main drivers of changes in primary production not only for the global ocean, but also separately for low latitudes, the North Atlantic, the North Pacific, the Arctic, and the Southern Ocean. Via a quantitative evaluation of the limitation factors of primary production, we show that, in addition to nutrient limitation, future changes in primary production due to global warming are controlled by warming-induced enhancement of phytoplankton growth and decreasing biomass caused by enhanced grazing. Moreover, we show that future changes in primary production and its mechanisms differ among the various ocean basins.


Primary production Marine ecosystem CMIP5 Global warming Ocean biogeochemical model 



The authors thank Dr. James Christian for his handling and editing, which significantly improves the manuscript. They also thank three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. Discussions with members of Ocean System Modeling, Division of Climate System Research, AORI are also appreciated. A.O is supported by KAKENHI JP17H06323 and JP16H01588.


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Copyright information

© The Oceanographic Society of Japan and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of TokyoKashiwaJapan

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