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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2018-149
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Development and technical paper 19 Jul 2018

Development and technical paper | 19 Jul 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).

Representation of disturbance in the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator Vn4.8 (JULES)

Chantelle Burton1,2, Richard Betts1,2, Manoel Cardoso3, Ted R. Feldpausch2, Anna Harper2, Chris Jones1, Douglas I. Kelley4, Eddy Robertson1, and Andy Wiltshire1 Chantelle Burton et al.
  • 1Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, EX1 3PB, UK
  • 2College of Life and Environmental Science, University of Exeter, Exeter, EX4 4SB, UK
  • 3Brazilian Institute for Space Research (INPE), Earth System Science Center (CCST), São José dos Campos, Brazil
  • 4Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, OX10 8BB, UK

Abstract. The representation of disturbance is a critical factor in land-surface modelling, but is generally poorly constrained in carbon cycle models. In particular, land-use change and fire can be treated as large-scale disturbances without full representation of their underlying complexities and interactions. Here we describe developments to the land surface model JULES (Joint UK Land Environment Simulator) to represent land-use change and fire as separate disturbances. We use the HYDE (History Database of the Global Environment) land cover dataset to analyse the impact of land-use change on global vegetation, and couple the fire model INFERNO (INteractive Fire and Emission algoRithm for Natural envirOnments) to dynamic vegetation within JULES to assess how the representation of disturbance affects the simulation of present day vegetation. We test model performance, evaluating the inclusion of land use and fire disturbance against standard benchmarks. Using the Manhattan Metric, overall disturbance improves the simulation of vegetation cover compared to observations by up to 53%. Grasses show an improvement of up to 52%, with biases in extent reduced from −66% to 13%. Total woody cover improves by up to 121% from a reduction in forest extent in the tropics, although simulated tree cover is now too sparse in some areas. Disturbance generally decreases tree and shrub cover and increases grasses. The results show that the disturbances provide important contributions to the realistic modelling of vegetation on a global scale, although in some areas fire and land-use together result in over-disturbance. This work provides a substantial contribution towards representing the full complexity and interactions between land-use change and fire that could be used in Earth System Models.

Chantelle Burton et al.
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Chantelle Burton et al.
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Short summary
Fire and land-use are important disturbances within the Earth system and their inclusion is critical in being able to correctly simulate vegetation cover in models. We describe developments to the land surface model JULES to represent land-use and fire. We use historical land-use data and simulate fire using the fire model INFERNO to assess the effects on present day vegetation, and evaluate the results compared to observations. We show that overall model results are improved by up to 53 %.
Fire and land-use are important disturbances within the Earth system and their inclusion is...
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