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Title: Quantifying the impacts of land surface schemes and dynamic vegetation on the model dependency of projected changes in surface energy and water budgets

Assessing and quantifying the uncertainties in projected future changes of energy and water budgets over land surface are important steps toward improving our confidence in climate change projections. In our study, the contribution of land surface models to the inter-GCM variation of projected future changes in land surface energy and water fluxes are assessed based on output from 19 global climate models (GCMs) and offline Community Land Model version 4 (CLM4) simulations driven by meteorological forcing from the 19 GCMs. Similar offline simulations using CLM4 with its dynamic vegetation submodel are also conducted to investigate how dynamic vegetation feedback, a process that is being added to more earth system models, may amplify or moderate the intermodel variations of projected future changes. Projected changes are quantified as the difference between the 2081–2100 period from the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5) future experiment and the 1981–2000 period from the historical simulation. Under RCP8.5, projected changes in surface water and heat fluxes show a high degree of model dependency across the globe. Although precipitation is very likely to increase in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, a high degree of model-related uncertainty exists for evapotranspiration, soil water content, and surface runoff, suggestingmore » discrepancy among land surface models (LSMs) in simulating the surface hydrological processes and snow-related processes. Large model-related uncertainties for the surface water budget also exist in the Tropics including southeastern South America and Central Africa. Moreover, these uncertainties would be reduced in the hypothetical scenario of a single near-perfect land surface model being used across all GCMs, suggesting the potential to reduce uncertainties through the use of more consistent approaches toward land surface model development. Under such a scenario, the most significant reduction is likely to be seen in the Northern Hemisphere high latitudes. Including representation of vegetation dynamics is expected to further amplify the model-related uncertainties in projected future changes in surface water and heat fluxes as well as soil moisture content. This is especially the case in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere (e.g., northwestern North America and central North Asia) where the projected vegetation changes are uncertain and in the Tropics (e.g., the Amazon and Congo Basins) where dense vegetation exists. Finally, findings from this study highlight the importance of improving land surface model parameterizations related to soil and snow processes, as well as the importance of improving the accuracy of dynamic vegetation models.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Nanjing Univ. of Information Science and Technology (China); Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs, CT (United States)
  2. Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs, CT (United States)
  3. Nanjing Univ. of Information Science and Technology (China)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AGS 1049017; AGS 1063986; 41205084; No. 41575084
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1942-2466
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23); U.S. National Science Foundation Climate and Large Scale Dynamics Program; National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC); Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: