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Title: Evaluating the Community Land Model (CLM4.5) at a coniferous forest site in northwestern United States using flux and carbon-isotope measurements

Abstract

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 or 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 andmore » 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

Authors:
 [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [4];  [3];  [2];  [5];  [6]; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States). Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences
  2. Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States). Dept. of Biology
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  4. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  5. San Diego State Univ., San Diego, CA (United States). Dept. of Biology
  6. US Forest Service, Corvallis, OR (United States). Pacific Northwest Research Station
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:
1416930
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-05CH11231; SC0010625; SC0010624
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Biogeosciences (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Biogeosciences (Online); Journal Volume: 14; Journal Issue: 18; Journal ID: ISSN 1726-4189
Publisher:
European Geosciences Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Duarte, Henrique F., Raczka, Brett M., Ricciuto, Daniel M., Lin, John C., Koven, Charles D., Thornton, Peter E., Bowling, David R., Lai, Chun-Ta, Bible, Kenneth J., and Ehleringer, James R. Evaluating the Community Land Model (CLM4.5) at a coniferous forest site in northwestern United States using flux and carbon-isotope measurements. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.5194/bg-14-4315-2017.
Duarte, Henrique F., Raczka, Brett M., Ricciuto, Daniel M., Lin, John C., Koven, Charles D., Thornton, Peter E., Bowling, David R., Lai, Chun-Ta, Bible, Kenneth J., & Ehleringer, James R. Evaluating the Community Land Model (CLM4.5) at a coniferous forest site in northwestern United States using flux and carbon-isotope measurements. United States. doi:10.5194/bg-14-4315-2017.
Duarte, Henrique F., Raczka, Brett M., Ricciuto, Daniel M., Lin, John C., Koven, Charles D., Thornton, Peter E., Bowling, David R., Lai, Chun-Ta, Bible, Kenneth J., and Ehleringer, James R. 2017. "Evaluating the Community Land Model (CLM4.5) at a coniferous forest site in northwestern United States using flux and carbon-isotope measurements". United States. doi:10.5194/bg-14-4315-2017. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1416930.
@article{osti_1416930,
title = {Evaluating the Community Land Model (CLM4.5) at a coniferous forest site in northwestern United States using flux and carbon-isotope measurements},
author = {Duarte, Henrique F. and Raczka, Brett M. and Ricciuto, Daniel M. and Lin, John C. and Koven, Charles D. and Thornton, Peter E. and Bowling, David R. and Lai, Chun-Ta and Bible, Kenneth J. and Ehleringer, James R.},
abstractNote = {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 or 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 (mbb) 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 mbb 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.},
doi = {10.5194/bg-14-4315-2017},
journal = {Biogeosciences (Online)},
number = 18,
volume = 14,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 9
}

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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
    Cited by 1
  • 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
  • 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
  • Previous studies using the Community Land Model (CLM) focused on simulating landatmosphere interactions and water balance at continental to global scales, with limited attention paid to its capability for hydrologic simulations at watershed or regional scales. This study evaluates the performance of CLM 4.0 (CLM4) for hydrologic simulations, and explores possible directions of improvement. Specifically, it is found that CLM4 tends to produce unrealistically large temporal variation of runoff for applications at a mountainous catchment in the Northwest United States where subsurface runoff is dominant, as well as at a few flux tower sites. We show that runoff simulations frommore » CLM4 can be improved by: (1) increasing spatial resolution of the land surface representations; (2) calibrating parameter values; (3) replacing the subsurface formulation with a more general nonlinear function; (4) implementing the runoff generation schemes from the Variability Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model. This study also highlights the importance of evaluating both the energy and water fluxes application of land surface models across multiple scales.« less
  • Representing agricultural systems explicitly in Earth system models is important for understanding the water-energy-food nexus under climate change. In this study, we applied Version 4.5 of the Community Land Model (CLM) at a 0.125 degree resolution to provide the first county-scale validation of the model in simulating crop yields over the Conterminous United States (CONUS). We focused on corn and soybean that are both important grain crops and biofuel feedstocks (corn for bioethanol; soybean for biodiesel). We find that the default model substantially under- or over-estimate yields of corn and soybean as compared to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)more » census data, with corresponding county-level root-mean square error (RMSE) of 45.3 Bu/acre and 12.9 Bu/acre, or 42% and 38% of the US mean yields for these crops, respectively. Based on the numerical experiments, the lack of proper representation of agricultural management practices, such as irrigation and fertilization, was identified as a major cause for the model's poor performance. After implementing an irrigation management scheme calibrated against county-level US Geological Survey (USGS) census data, the county-level RMSE for corn yields reduced to 42.6 Bu/acre. We then incorporated an optimized fertilizer scheme in rate and timing, which is achieved by the constraining annual total fertilizer amount against the USDA data, considering the dynamics between fertilizer demand and supply and adopting a calibrated fertilizer scheduling map. The proposed approach is shown to be effective in increasing the fertilizer use efficiency for corn yields, with county-level RMSE reduced to 23.8 Bu/acre (or 22% of the US mean yield). In regions with similar annual fertilizer applied as in the default, the improvements in corn yield simulations are mainly attributed to application of longer fertilization periods and consideration of the dynamics between fertilizer demand and supply. For soybean which is capable of fixing nitrogen to meet nitrogen demand, the reduced positive bias to 6.9 Bu/acre (or 21% of the country mean) was mainly attributed to consideration of the dynamic interactions between fertilizer demand and supply. Although large bias remains in terms of the spatial pattern (i.e. high county-level RMSE), mainly due to limited performance over the Western US, our results show that optimizing irrigation and fertilization can lead to promising improvement in crop and soybean yield simulations in terms of the mean and variability especially over the Mid-west corn belt, and subsequent evapotranspiration (ET) estimates. Finally, this study demonstrates the CLM4.5 capability for predicting crop yields and their interactions with climate, and highlights the value of continued model improvements and development to understand biogeophysical and biogeochemical impacts of land use and land cover change using an Earth system modeling framework.« less