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Title: Meta-analysis of high-latitude nitrogen-addition and warming studies imply ecological mechanisms overlooked by land models

Accurate representation of ecosystem processes in land models is crucial for reducing predictive uncertainty in energy and greenhouse gas feedbacks with the atmosphere. Here we describe an observational and modeling meta-analysis approach to benchmark land models, and apply the method to the land model CLM4.5 with two versions of belowground biogeochemistry. We focused our analysis on the above and belowground high-latitude ecosystem responses to warming and nitrogen addition, and identified mechanisms absent, or poorly parameterized in CLM4.5. While the two model versions predicted similar trajectories for soil carbon stocks following both types of perturbation, other variables (e.g., belowground respiration) differed from the observations in both magnitude and direction, indicating the underlying mechanisms are inadequate for representing high-latitude ecosystems. The observational synthesis attribute these differences to missing representations of microbial dynamics, characterization of above and belowground functional processes, and nutrient competition. We use the observational meta-analyses to discuss potential approaches to improving the current models (e.g., the inclusion of dynamic vegetation or different microbial functional guilds), however, we also raise a cautionary note on the selection of data sets and experiments to be included in a meta-analysis. For example, the concentrations of nitrogen applied in the synthesized field experiments (average =72more » kg ha -1 yr -1) are many times higher than projected soil nitrogen concentrations (from nitrogen deposition and release during mineralization), which preclude a rigorous evaluation of the model responses to nitrogen perturbation. Overall, we demonstrate here that elucidating ecological mechanisms via meta-analysis can identify deficiencies in both ecosystem models and empirical experiments.« less
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  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
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Published Article
Journal Name:
Biogeosciences Discussions (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Biogeosciences Discussions (Online); Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 1810-6285
European Geosciences Union
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
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