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Title: Testing a land model in ecosystem functional space via a comparison of observed and modeled ecosystem flux responses to precipitation regimes and associated stresses in a Central U.S. forest: Test Model in Ecosystem Functional Space

Testing complex land surface models has often proceeded by asking the question: does the model prediction agree with the observation? This approach has yet led to high-performance terrestrial models that meet the challenges of climate and ecological studies. Here we test the Community Land Model (CLM) by asking the question: does the model behave like an ecosystem? We pursue its answer by testing CLM in the ecosystem functional space (EFS) at the Missouri Ozark AmeriFlux (MOFLUX) forest site in the Central U.S., focusing on carbon and water flux responses to precipitation regimes and associated stresses. In the observed EFS, precipitation regimes and associated water and heat stresses controlled seasonal and interannual variations of net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of CO 2 and evapotranspiration in this deciduous forest ecosystem. Such controls were exerted more strongly by precipitation variability than by the total precipitation amount per se. A few simply constructed climate variability indices captured these controls, suggesting a high degree of potential predictability. While the interannual fluctuation in NEE was large, a net carbon sink was maintained even during an extreme drought year. Although CLM predicted seasonal and interanual variations in evapotranspiration reasonably well, its predictions of net carbon uptake were toomore » small across the observed range of climate variability. Also, the model systematically underestimated the sensitivities of NEE and evapotranspiration to climate variability and overestimated the coupling strength between carbon and water fluxes. Its suspected that the modeled and observed trajectories of ecosystem fluxes did not overlap in the EFS and the model did not behave like the ecosystem it attempted to simulate. A definitive conclusion will require comprehensive parameter and structural sensitivity tests in a rigorous mathematical framework. We also suggest that future model improvements should focus on better representation and parameterization of process responses to environmental stresses and on more complete and robust representations of carbon-specific processes so that adequate responses to climate variability and a proper degree of coupling between carbon and water exchanges are captured.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [3]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Environmental Sciences Division and Climate Change Science Inst.
  2. Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, MO (United States). Dept. of Forestry
  3. Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX (United States). Jackson School of Geosciences
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; FG02-03ER63683
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research. Biogeosciences
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 121; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-8953
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1402131