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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. Thu . "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 = {Thu Sep 28 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Thu Sep 28 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

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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 5
  • 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
  • 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
  • How carbon (C) is allocated to different plant tissues (leaves, stem, and roots) determines how long C remains in plant biomass and thus remains a central challenge for understanding the global C cycle. We used a diverse set of observations (AmeriFlux eddy covariance tower observations, biomass estimates from tree-ring data, and leaf area index (LAI) measurements) to compare C fluxes, pools, and LAI data with those predicted by a land surface model (LSM), the Community Land Model (CLM4.5). We ran CLM4.5 for nine temperate (including evergreen and deciduous) forests in North America between 1980 and 2013 using four different C allocationmore » schemes: i. dynamic C allocation scheme (named "D-CLM4.5") with one dynamic allometric parameter, which allocates C to the stem and leaves to vary in time as a function of annual net primary production (NPP); ii. an alternative dynamic C allocation scheme (named "D-Litton"), where, similar to (i), C allocation is a dynamic function of annual NPP, but unlike (i) includes two dynamic allometric parameters involving allocation to leaves, stem, and coarse roots; iii.–iv. a fixed C allocation scheme with two variants, one representative of observations in evergreen (named "F-Evergreen") and the other of observations in deciduous forests (named "F-Deciduous"). D-CLM4.5 generally overestimated gross primary production (GPP) and ecosystem respiration, and underestimated net ecosystem exchange (NEE). In D-CLM4.5, initial aboveground biomass in 1980 was largely overestimated (between 10 527 and 12 897 g C m -2) for deciduous forests, whereas aboveground biomass accumulation through time (between 1980 and 2011) was highly underestimated (between 1222 and 7557 g C m -2) for both evergreen and deciduous sites due to a lower stem turnover rate in the sites than the one used in the model. D-CLM4.5 overestimated LAI in both evergreen and deciduous sites because the leaf C–LAI relationship in the model did not match the observed leaf C–LAI relationship at our sites. Although the four C allocation schemes gave similar results for aggregated C fluxes, they translated to important differences in long-term aboveground biomass accumulation and aboveground NPP. For deciduous forests, D-Litton gave more realistic C stem/C leaf ratios and strongly reduced the overestimation of initial aboveground biomass and aboveground NPP for deciduous forests by D-CLM4.5. We identified key structural and parameterization deficits that need refinement to improve the accuracy of LSMs in the near future. These include changing how C is allocated in fixed and dynamic schemes based on data from current forest syntheses and different parameterization of allocation schemes for different forest types. Our results highlight the utility of using measurements of aboveground biomass to evaluate and constrain the C allocation scheme in LSMs, and suggest that stem turnover is overestimated by CLM4.5 for these AmeriFlux sites. Understanding the controls of turnover will be critical to improving long-term C processes in LSMs.« less