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Title: Using Ecosystem Experiments to Improve Vegetation Models

Ecosystem responses to rising CO2 concentrations are a major source of uncertainty in climate change projections. Data from ecosystem-scale Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) experiments provide a unique opportunity to reduce this uncertainty. The recent FACE Model–Data Synthesis project aimed to use the information gathered in two forest FACE experiments to assess and improve land ecosystem models. A new 'assumption-centred' model intercomparison approach was used, in which participating models were evaluated against experimental data based on the ways in which they represent key ecological processes. Identifying and evaluating the main assumptions caused differences among models, and the assumption-centered approach produced a clear roadmap for reducing model uncertainty. We explain this approach and summarize the resulting research agenda. We encourage the application of this approach in other model intercomparison projects to fundamentally improve predictive understanding of the Earth system.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [4] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [8] ;  [9] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [10] ;  [11] ;  [12] ;  [4] ;  [8] ;  [4] ;  [13] ;  [4]
  1. Macquarie Univ., NSW (Australia). Dept. of Biological Sciences; Univ. of Western Sydney, NSW (Australia). Hawkesbury Inst. for the Environment
  2. Max Planck Society, Jena (Germany). Max Planck Inst. for Biogeohemistry
  3. Macquarie Univ., NSW (Australia). Dept. of Biological Sciences
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Environmental Sciences Div. and Climate Change Science Inst.
  5. Boston Univ., MA (United States). Dept. of Earth and Environment
  6. Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre and Senchenbert Gessellschaft fuer Naturforschung, Frankfurt (Germany); Goethe Univ., Frankfurt (Germany). Dept. of Physical Geography
  7. Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL (United States)
  8. Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK (United States). Dept. of Microbiology and Plant Biology
  9. Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO (United States). Natural Resource Ecology Lab.
  10. Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, ON (Canada). Canada Centre for Remote Sensing (CCRS)
  11. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Aspendale VIC (Australia). Ocean and Atmosphere Flagship
  12. Princeton Univ., NJ (United States). Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  13. Duke Univ., Durham, NC (United States). Div. of Environmental Science and Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment; Swedish Univ. of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Umea (Sweden)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Climate Change
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 5; Journal Issue: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 1758-678X
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: