Raffaele Bernardello
Raffaele Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Earth and Environmental Science
University of Pennsylvania
240 S. 33rd Street
Hayden Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6316
Tel: (+1) 215-573-5145
E-mail: braf@sas.upenn.edu

2010: PhD in Marine science;
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. BarcelonaTech (Spain)

2003: B.Sc. In Environmental Science;
University of Genoa (Italy)

Professional Experience

Jan 2011-present: Post-Doctoral Fellow
University of Pennsylvania, PA, Department of Earth and Environmental Science

Sept 2003 - Oct 2010: Research Technician and PhD Candidate
Center for Advanced Studies of Blanes. Operational Oceanography and
Sustainability Unit. Spanish National Research Council.

Research Interests

-The influence of ocean circulation on plankton primary production, plankton community structure and vertical fluxes of organic matter.

-Impact of ventilation on ocean carbon storage in a changing climate.


I am interested in the influence of circulation on the ocean ability to store carbon at the time scales of interest for the present and future climate. Carbon is absorbed into the ocean in the form of carbon dioxide at the air-sea interface. When surface water in high latitudes is cooled by heat transfer to the atmosphere, both its CO2 solubility and its density increase, resulting in high surface pCO2 and vertical instability. If further heat is lost, these surface waters sink to the deep ocean, increasing in the process the deep ocean CO2 content. This “solubility pump” mechanism accounts for part of the surface-to-depth DIC gradient observed in the ocean, with the remained explained by the so called “biological carbon pump”. Some of the DIC present in surface water is transferred from the inorganic dissolved phase to the particulate organic pool by planktonic autothrophs (phytoplankton) photosynthesis. The particulate organic carbon sinks or is actively transported by vertical mixing and is remineralized by bacteria at depth. This results in a net transport of dissolved inorganic carbon from the surface to the deep ocean.
The ocean carbon storage is then a result of complex interactions among the atmosphere, the surface and deep ocean circulation and the pelagic primary production.

During my PhD I designed and implemented a coupled hydrodynamic-biogeochemical model configuration for the Western Mediterranean Sea. The main goal was to quantify the interannual variability of circulation patterns and their role in shaping the variability observed, for example, in the northwestern mediterranean spring bloom. I was especially interested in the coupling/decoupling of primary production and the vertical export flux of organic matter.

I am presently designing and executing a set of numerical simulations using a coarse resolution version of one of the coupled ocean-atmosphere models used in the last IPCC report (AR4), the GFDL CM2M model. The simulations are carried out by using IPCC scenarios for greenhouse gases emissions in the next century. The main goal is to gain knowledge on the differential impact that a changing ocean circulation will have on the physically- and biologically- driven ocean carbon storage, as well as on anthropogenic carbon storage. Our project is in collaboration with Jorge Sarmiento (Princeton) and Jaime Palter (McGill) and is sponsored by the NOAA Global Climate Change program.



Bernardello, R. A 3D high resolution coupled hydrodynamic-biogeochemical model for the Western Mediterranean Sea. Interannual variability of primary and export production, PhD thesis, 213 pp, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (Spain). (link)

Peer-reviewed Papers:

Bernardello, R. , Cardoso, J. G., Bahamon, N., Donis, D., Marinov, I. , and Cruzado, A. Factors controlling interannual variability of vertical organic matter export and phytoplankton bloom dynamics – a numerical case-study for the NW Mediterranean Sea. Biogeosciences, 9, 4233-4245, doi:10.5194/bg-9-4233-2012, 2012 (link)

Bahamon, N., Aguzzi, J., Bernardello, R., Ahumada-Sempoal, M., Puigdefabregas, J., Cateura, J., Muñoz, E., Velásquez, Z., Cruzado, A. The New Pelagic Operational Observatory of the Catalan Sea (OOCS) for the Multisensor Coordinated Measurement of Atmospheric and Oceanographic Conditions. Sensors, 11(12), 11251-11272; doi:10.3390/s111211251, 2012 (link)

Western Mediterranean animations:

Velocity at 1m depth

Surface elevation

Surface dissolved organic carbon

Surface salinity

Surface chlorophyll