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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2017-74
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Model evaluation paper
21 Mar 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).
Evaluating the effect of alternative carbon allocation schemes in a land surface model (CLM4.5) on carbon fluxes, pools and turnover in temperate forests
Francesc Montané1, Andrew M. Fox1, Avelino F. Arellano2, Natasha MacBean1, M. Ross Alexander1,3, Alex Dye4, Daniel A. Bishop5, Valerie Trouet3, Flurin Babst6,7, Amy E. Hessl4, Neil Pederson8, Peter D. Blanken9, Gil Bohrer10, Christopher M. Gough11, Marcy E. Litvak12, Kimberly A. Novick13, Richard P. Phillips14, Jeffrey D. Wood15, and David J. P. Moore1 1School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 85721, USA
2Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 85721, USA
3Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 85721, USA
4Department of Geology and Geography, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, 26506, USA
5Division of Biology and Paleo Environment, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York, 964, USA
6Dendro Sciences Unit, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
7W. Szafer Institute of Botany, Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Lubicz 46, 31-512 Krakow, Poland
8Harvard Forest, Harvard University, Petersham, Massachusetts, 01366, USA
9Department of Geography, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, 80309, USA
10Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 43210, USA
11Department of Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, 23284, USA
12Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87131, USA
13School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, 47405, USA
14Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, 47405, USA
15School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, 65211, USA
Abstract. How carbon (C) is allocated to different plant tissues (leaves, stem and roots) determines C residence time 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 CLM for nine temperate (including evergreen and deciduous) forests in North America between 1980 and 2013 using four different C allocation schemes: i) Dynamic C allocation scheme (named "D-CLM") 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) Two fixed C allocation schemes, one representative of observations in evergreen (named "F-Evergreen") and the other of observations in deciduous forests (named "F-Deciduous"). D-CLM generally overestimated Gross Primary Production (GPP) and ecosystem respiration, and underestimated Net Ecosystem Exchange (NEE). In D-CLM, initial aboveground biomass in 1980 was largely overestimated (between 10527 and 12897 g Cm-2) for deciduous forests, whereas aboveground biomass accumulation through time (between 1980 and 2011) was highly underestimated (between 1222 and 7557 g Cm-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-CLM 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 Cstem/Cleaf ratios and strongly reduced the overestimation of initial aboveground biomass, and aboveground NPP for deciduous forests by D-CLM. We identified key structural and parameterization deficits that need refinement to improve the accuracy of LSMs in the near future. That could be done by addressing some of the current model assumptions about C allocation and the associated parameter uncertainty. Our results highlight the importance of using aboveground biomass data to evaluate and constrain the C allocation scheme in the model, and in particular, the sensitivity to the stem turnover rate. Revising these will be critical to improving long-term C processes in LSMs, and improve their projections of biomass accumulation in forests.

Citation: Montané, F., Fox, A. M., Arellano, A. F., MacBean, N., Alexander, M. R., Dye, A., Bishop, D. A., Trouet, V., Babst, F., Hessl, A. E., Pederson, N., Blanken, P. D., Bohrer, G., Gough, C. M., Litvak, M. E., Novick, K. A., Phillips, R. P., Wood, J. D., and Moore, D. J. P.: Evaluating the effect of alternative carbon allocation schemes in a land surface model (CLM4.5) on carbon fluxes, pools and turnover in temperate forests, Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2017-74, in review, 2017.
Francesc Montané et al.
Francesc Montané et al.
Francesc Montané et al.

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Short summary
How carbon is allocated to different plant tissues (leaves, stem, and roots) determines carbon residence time and thus remains a central challenge for understanding the global carbon cycle. In this paper, we used a state-of-the-art land surface model (CLM4.5) with its standard carbon allocation scheme, and we implemented alternative carbon allocation schemes based on published papers. One of the alternative allocation schemes improved aboveground biomass estimates in most of our sites.
How carbon is allocated to different plant tissues (leaves, stem, and roots) determines carbon...
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