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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Model evaluation paper 08 Nov 2018

Model evaluation paper | 08 Nov 2018

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

Accounting for Carbon and Nitrogen interactions in the Global Terrestrial Ecosystem Model ORCHIDEE (trunk version, rev 4999): multi-scale evaluation of gross primary production

Nicolas Vuichard1, Palmira Messina1,a, Sebastiaan Luyssaert2, Bertrand Guenet1, Sönke Zaehle3, Josefine Ghattas4, Vladislav Bastrikov1, and Philippe Peylin1 Nicolas Vuichard et al.
  • 1Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 2Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculty of Science, 1081 HV, the Netherlands
  • 3Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Hans-Knöll-Str. 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
  • 4Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace, IPSL, UPMC 4 Place Jussieu, 75252 Paris, France
  • anow at: Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherche en Environnement Atmosphérique, CEREA/IPSL, 77455 Marne la Vallée, France

Abstract. Nitrogen is an essential element controlling ecosystem carbon (C) productivity and its response to climate change and atmospheric [CO2] increase. This study presents the evaluation – focussing on gross primary production (GPP) – of a new version of the ORCHIDEE model that gathers the representation of the nitrogen cycle and of its interactions with the carbon cycle from the OCN model and the most recent developments from the ORCHIDEE trunk version.

We quantify the model skills at 78 Fluxnet sites by simulating the observed mean seasonal cycle, daily mean flux variations, and annual mean average GPP flux for grasslands and forests. Accounting for carbon-nitrogen interactions does not substantially change the main skills of ORCHIDEE, except for the site-to-site annual mean GPP variations, for which the version with carbon-nitrogen interactions is in better agreement to observations. However, the simulated GPP response to idealized [CO2] enrichment simulations is highly sensitive to whether or not carbon-nitrogen interactions are accounted for. Doubling of the atmospheric [CO2] induces an increase of the GPP, but the site-averaged GPP response to CO2 increase projected by the model version with carbon-nitrogen interactions is half of the increase projected by the version without carbon-nitrogen interactions. This model's differentiated response has important consequences for the transpiration rate, which is on average 50 mm yr−1 lower with the version with carbon-nitrogen interactions.

Simulated annual GPP for northern, tropical and southern latitudes shows good agreement with the observation-based MTE-GPP product for present-day conditions. An attribution experiment making use of this new version of ORCHIDEE for the time period 1860–2016 suggests that global GPP has increased by 50 %, the main driver being the enrichment of land in reactive nitrogen (through deposition and fertilization), followed by the [CO2] increase.

Based on our factorial experiment and sensitivity analysis, we conclude that if carbon-nitrogen interactions are accounted for, the functional responses of ORCHIDEE r4999 better agrees with current understanding of photosynthesis than when the carbon-nitrogen interactions are not accounted for, and that carbon-nitrogen interactions are essential in understanding global terrestrial ecosystem productivity.

Nicolas Vuichard et al.
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Status: open (until 29 Mar 2019)
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Nicolas Vuichard et al.
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Short summary
In this research, we present a new version of the global terrestrial ecosystem model ORCHIDEE in which carbon and nitrogen cycles are coupled. We evaluate its skills at simulating primary production at 78 sites and at global scale. Based on a set of additional simulations in which carbon and nitrogen cycles are coupled/uncoupled, we show that the functional responses of the model with carbon-nitrogen interactions better agrees with our current understanding of photosynthesis.
In this research, we present a new version of the global terrestrial ecosystem model ORCHIDEE in...