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Title: An observational constraint on stomatal function in forests: evaluating coupled carbon and water vapor exchange with carbon isotopes in the Community Land Model (CLM4.5)

Abstract

Land surface models are useful tools to quantify contemporary and future climate impact on terrestrial carbon cycle processes, provided they can be appropriately constrained and tested with observations. Stable carbon isotopes of CO 2 offer the potential to improve model representation of the coupled carbon and water cycles because they are strongly influenced by stomatal function. Recently, a representation of stable carbon isotope discrimination was incorporated into the Community Land Model component of the Community Earth System Model. Here, we tested the model's capability to simulate whole-forest isotope discrimination in a subalpine conifer forest at Niwot Ridge, Colorado, USA. We distinguished between isotopic behavior in response to a decrease of δ 13C within atmospheric CO 2 (Suess effect) vs. photosynthetic discrimination (Δ canopy), by creating a site-customized atmospheric CO 2 and δ 13C of CO 2 time series. We implemented a seasonally varying V cmax model calibration that best matched site observations of net CO 2 carbon exchange, latent heat exchange, and biomass. The model accurately simulated observed δ 13C of needle and stem tissue, but underestimated the δ 13C of bulk soil carbon by 1–2 ‰. The model overestimated the multiyear (2006–2012) average Δ canopy relative to prior data-based estimatesmore » by 2–4 ‰. The amplitude of the average seasonal cycle of Δ canopy (i.e., higher in spring/fall as compared to summer) was correctly modeled but only when using a revised, fully coupled A n −  g s (net assimilation rate, stomatal conductance) version of the model in contrast to the partially coupled A n −  g s version used in the default model. The model attributed most of the seasonal variation in discrimination to A n, whereas interannual variation in simulated Δ canopy during the summer months was driven by stomatal response to vapor pressure deficit (VPD). The model simulated a 10 % increase in both photosynthetic discrimination and water-use efficiency (WUE) since 1850 which is counter to established relationships between discrimination and WUE. The isotope observations used here to constrain CLM suggest (1) the model overestimated stomatal conductance and (2) the default CLM approach to representing nitrogen limitation (partially coupled model) was not capable of reproducing observed trends in discrimination. These findings demonstrate that isotope observations can provide important information related to stomatal function driven by environmental stress from VPD and nitrogen limitation. Future versions of CLM that incorporate carbon isotope discrimination are likely to benefit from explicit inclusion of mesophyll conductance.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [4];  [2];  [1]
  1. Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States). Dept. of Biology
  2. Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States). Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences
  3. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1328465
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-05CH11231; SC0010625
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Published Article
Journal Name:
Biogeosciences (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Biogeosciences (Online); Journal Volume: 13; Journal Issue: 18; Journal ID: ISSN 1726-4189
Publisher:
European Geosciences Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; 59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Raczka, Brett, Duarte, Henrique F., Koven, Charles D., Ricciuto, Daniel, Thornton, Peter E., Lin, John C., and Bowling, David R. An observational constraint on stomatal function in forests: evaluating coupled carbon and water vapor exchange with carbon isotopes in the Community Land Model (CLM4.5). United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.5194/bg-13-5183-2016.
Raczka, Brett, Duarte, Henrique F., Koven, Charles D., Ricciuto, Daniel, Thornton, Peter E., Lin, John C., & Bowling, David R. An observational constraint on stomatal function in forests: evaluating coupled carbon and water vapor exchange with carbon isotopes in the Community Land Model (CLM4.5). United States. doi:10.5194/bg-13-5183-2016.
Raczka, Brett, Duarte, Henrique F., Koven, Charles D., Ricciuto, Daniel, Thornton, Peter E., Lin, John C., and Bowling, David R. 2016. "An observational constraint on stomatal function in forests: evaluating coupled carbon and water vapor exchange with carbon isotopes in the Community Land Model (CLM4.5)". United States. doi:10.5194/bg-13-5183-2016.
@article{osti_1328465,
title = {An observational constraint on stomatal function in forests: evaluating coupled carbon and water vapor exchange with carbon isotopes in the Community Land Model (CLM4.5)},
author = {Raczka, Brett and Duarte, Henrique F. and Koven, Charles D. and Ricciuto, Daniel and Thornton, Peter E. and Lin, John C. and Bowling, David R.},
abstractNote = {Land surface models are useful tools to quantify contemporary and future climate impact on terrestrial carbon cycle processes, provided they can be appropriately constrained and tested with observations. Stable carbon isotopes of CO2 offer the potential to improve model representation of the coupled carbon and water cycles because they are strongly influenced by stomatal function. Recently, a representation of stable carbon isotope discrimination was incorporated into the Community Land Model component of the Community Earth System Model. Here, we tested the model's capability to simulate whole-forest isotope discrimination in a subalpine conifer forest at Niwot Ridge, Colorado, USA. We distinguished between isotopic behavior in response to a decrease of δ13C within atmospheric CO2 (Suess effect) vs. photosynthetic discrimination (Δcanopy), by creating a site-customized atmospheric CO2 and δ13C of CO2 time series. We implemented a seasonally varying Vcmax model calibration that best matched site observations of net CO2 carbon exchange, latent heat exchange, and biomass. The model accurately simulated observed δ13C of needle and stem tissue, but underestimated the δ13C of bulk soil carbon by 1–2 ‰. The model overestimated the multiyear (2006–2012) average Δcanopy relative to prior data-based estimates by 2–4 ‰. The amplitude of the average seasonal cycle of Δcanopy (i.e., higher in spring/fall as compared to summer) was correctly modeled but only when using a revised, fully coupled An − gs (net assimilation rate, stomatal conductance) version of the model in contrast to the partially coupled An − gs version used in the default model. The model attributed most of the seasonal variation in discrimination to An, whereas interannual variation in simulated Δcanopy during the summer months was driven by stomatal response to vapor pressure deficit (VPD). The model simulated a 10 % increase in both photosynthetic discrimination and water-use efficiency (WUE) since 1850 which is counter to established relationships between discrimination and WUE. The isotope observations used here to constrain CLM suggest (1) the model overestimated stomatal conductance and (2) the default CLM approach to representing nitrogen limitation (partially coupled model) was not capable of reproducing observed trends in discrimination. These findings demonstrate that isotope observations can provide important information related to stomatal function driven by environmental stress from VPD and nitrogen limitation. Future versions of CLM that incorporate carbon isotope discrimination are likely to benefit from explicit inclusion of mesophyll conductance.},
doi = {10.5194/bg-13-5183-2016},
journal = {Biogeosciences (Online)},
number = 18,
volume = 13,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 9
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record at 10.5194/bg-13-5183-2016

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  • Land surface models are useful tools to quantify contemporary and future climate impact on terrestrial carbon cycle processes, provided they can be appropriately constrained and tested with observations. Stable carbon isotopes of CO 2 offer the potential to improve model representation of the coupled carbon and water cycles because they are strongly influenced by stomatal function. Recently, a representation of stable carbon isotope discrimination was incorporated into the Community Land Model component of the Community Earth System Model. Here, we tested the model's capability to simulate whole-forest isotope discrimination in a subalpine conifer forest at Niwot Ridge, Colorado, USA. Wemore » distinguished between isotopic behavior in response to a decrease of δ 13C within atmospheric CO 2 (Suess effect) vs. photosynthetic discrimination (Δ canopy), by creating a site-customized atmospheric CO 2 and δ 13C of CO 2 time series. We implemented a seasonally varying V cmax model calibration that best matched site observations of net CO 2 carbon exchange, latent heat exchange, and biomass. The model accurately simulated observed δ 13C of needle and stem tissue, but underestimated the δ 13C of bulk soil carbon by 1–2 ‰. The model overestimated the multiyear (2006–2012) average Δ canopy relative to prior data-based estimates by 2–4 ‰. The amplitude of the average seasonal cycle of Δ canopy (i.e., higher in spring/fall as compared to summer) was correctly modeled but only when using a revised, fully coupled A n- g s (net assimilation rate, stomatal conductance) version of the model in contrast to the partially coupled A n- g s version used in the default model. The model attributed most of the seasonal variation in discrimination to A n, whereas interannual variation in simulated Δ canopy during the summer months was driven by stomatal response to vapor pressure deficit (VPD). The model simulated a 10 % increase in both photosynthetic discrimination and water-use efficiency (WUE) since 1850 which is counter to established relationships between discrimination and WUE. The isotope observations used here to constrain CLM suggest (1) the model overestimated stomatal conductance and (2) the default CLM approach to representing nitrogen limitation (partially coupled model) was not capable of reproducing observed trends in discrimination. These findings demonstrate that isotope observations can provide important information related to stomatal function driven by environmental stress from VPD and nitrogen limitation. Future versions of CLM that incorporate carbon isotope discrimination are likely to benefit from explicit inclusion of mesophyll conductance.« less
  • Droughts in the western United States are expected to intensify with climate change. Thus, an adequate representation of ecosystem response to water stress in land models is critical for predicting carbon dynamics. The goal of this study was to evaluate the performance of the Community Land Model (CLM) version 4.5 against observations at an old-growth coniferous forest site in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States (Wind River AmeriFlux site), characterized by a Mediterranean climate that subjects trees to water stress each summer. CLM was driven by site-observed meteorology and calibrated primarily using parameter values observed at the site ormore » at similar stands in the region. Key model adjustments included parameters controlling specific leaf area and stomatal conductance. Default values of these parameters led to significant underestimation of gross primary production, overestimation of evapotranspiration, and consequently overestimation of photosynthetic 13C discrimination, reflected in reduced 13C: 12C ratios of carbon fluxes and pools. Adjustments in soil hydraulic parameters within CLM were also critical, preventing significant underestimation of soil water content and unrealistic soil moisture stress during summer. After calibration, CLM was able to simulate energy and carbon fluxes, leaf area index, biomass stocks, and carbon isotope ratios of carbon fluxes and pools in reasonable agreement with site observations. Overall, the calibrated CLM was able to simulate the observed response of canopy conductance to atmospheric vapor pressure deficit (VPD) and soil water content, reasonably capturing the impact of water stress on ecosystem functioning. Both simulations and observations indicate that stomatal response from water stress at Wind River was primarily driven by VPD and not soil moisture. The calibration of the Ball–Berry stomatal conductance slope ( m bb) at Wind River aligned with findings from recent CLM experiments at sites characterized by the same plant functional type (needleleaf evergreen temperate forest), despite significant differences in stand composition and age and climatology, suggesting that CLM could benefit from a revised m bb value of 6, rather than the default value of 9, for this plant functional type. Conversely, Wind River required a unique calibration of the hydrology submodel to simulate soil moisture, suggesting that the default hydrology has a more limited applicability. Here, this study demonstrates that carbon isotope data can be used to constrain stomatal conductance and intrinsic water use efficiency in CLM, as an alternative to eddy covariance flux measurements. It also demonstrates that carbon isotopes can expose structural weaknesses in the model and provide a key constraint that may guide future model development.« less
  • One of the recognized weaknesses of land surface models as used in weather and climate models is the assumption of constant soil thickness due to the lack of global estimates of bedrock depth. Using a 30 arcsecond global dataset for the thickness of relatively porous, unconsolidated sediments over bedrock, spatial variation in soil thickness is included here in version 4.5 of the Community Land Model (CLM4.5). The number of soil layers for each grid cell is determined from the average soil depth for each 0.9° latitude x 1.25° longitude grid cell. Including variable soil thickness affects the simulations most inmore » regions with shallow bedrock corresponding predominantly to areas of mountainous terrain. The greatest changes are to baseflow, with the annual minimum generally occurring earlier, while smaller changes are seen in surface fluxes like latent heat flux and surface runoff in which only the annual cycle amplitude is increased. These changes are tied to soil moisture changes which are most substantial in locations with shallow bedrock. Total water storage (TWS) anomalies do not change much over most river basins around the globe, since most basins contain mostly deep soils. However, it was found that TWS anomalies substantially differ for a river basin with more mountainous terrain. Additionally, the annual cycle in soil temperature are affected by including realistic soil thicknesses due to changes to heat capacity and thermal conductivity.« less
  • Accurately simulating hydrological processes such as streamflow is important in land surface modeling because they can influence other land surface processes, such as carbon cycle dynamics, through various interaction pathways. This study aims to evaluate the global application of a recently developed Model for Scale Adaptive River Transport (MOSART)coupled with theCommunity Land Model, version 4 (CLM4). To support the global implementation of MOSART, a comprehensive global hydrography dataset has been derived at multiple resolutions from different sources. The simulated runoff fields are first evaluated against the composite runoff map from theGlobal RunoffData Centre (GRDC). The simulated streamflow is then shownmore » to reproduce reasonably well the observed daily andmonthly streamflow at over 1600 of the world’smajor river stations in terms of annual, seasonal, and daily flow statistics. The impacts of model structure complexity are evaluated, and results show that the spatial and temporal variability of river velocity simulated byMOSART is necessary for capturing streamflow seasonality and annual maximum flood. Other sources of the simulation bias include uncertainties in the atmospheric forcing, as revealed by simulations driven by four different climate datasets, and human influences, based on a classification framework that quantifies the impact levels of large dams on the streamflow worldwide.« less
  • Measurements of the stable carbon isotope ratio ( δ 13C) on annual tree rings offer new opportunities to evaluate mechanisms of variations in photosynthesis and stomatal conductance under changing CO 2 and climate conditions, especially in conjunction with process-based biogeochemical model simulations. The isotopic discrimination is indicative of the ratio between the CO 2 partial pressure in the intercellular cavities and the atmosphere ( c i/ c a) and of the ratio of assimilation to stomatal conductance, termed intrinsic water-use efficiency (iWUE). We performed isotope-enabled simulations over the industrial period with the land biosphere module (CLM4.5) of the Community Earthmore » System Model and the Land Surface Processes and Exchanges (LPX-Bern) dynamic global vegetation model. Results for C3 tree species show good agreement with a global compilation of δ 13C measurements on leaves, though modeled 13C discrimination by C3 trees is smaller in arid regions than measured. A compilation of 76 tree-ring records, mainly from Europe, boreal Asia, and western North America, suggests on average small 20th century changes in isotopic discrimination and in c i/ c a and an increase in iWUE of about 27% since 1900. LPX-Bern results match these century-scale reconstructions, supporting the idea that the physiology of stomata has evolved to optimize trade-offs between carbon gain by assimilation and water loss by transpiration. In contrast, CLM4.5 simulates an increase in discrimination and in turn a change in iWUE that is almost twice as large as that revealed by the tree-ring data. Factorial simulations show that these changes are mainly in response to rising atmospheric CO 2. The results suggest that the downregulation of c i/ c a and of photosynthesis by nitrogen limitation is possibly too strong in the standard setup of CLM4.5 or that there may be problems associated with the implementation of conductance, assimilation, and related adjustment processes on long-term environmental changes.« less