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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2018-34
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2018-34
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Model evaluation paper 05 Mar 2018

Model evaluation paper | 05 Mar 2018

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

Evaluating the E3SM Land Model at a temperate forest site using flux and soil water measurements

Junyi Liang1, Gangsheng Wang1, Daniel M. Ricciuto1, Lianhong Gu1, Paul J. Hanson1, Jeffrey D. Wood2, and Melanie A. Mayes1 Junyi Liang et al.
  • 1Environmental Sciences Division & Climate Change Science Institute, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • 2School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA

Abstract. Accurate simulations of soil respiration and carbon dioxide (CO2) efflux are critical to project global biogeochemical cycles and the magnitude of carbon (C) feedbacks to climate change in Earth system models (ESMs). Currently, soil respiration is not represented well in ESMs, and few studies have attempted to address this deficiency. In this study, we evaluated the simulation of soil respiration in the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) using long-term observations from the Missouri Ozark AmeriFlux (MOFLUX) forest site in the central U.S. Simulations using the default model parameters significantly underestimated annual soil respiration and gross primary production, while underestimating soil water potential during growing seasons and overestimating it during non-growing seasons. A site-specific soil water retention curve significantly improved modelled soil water potential, gross primary production and soil respiration. However, the model continued to underestimate soil respiration during peak growing seasons, and overestimate soil respiration during non-peak growing seasons. One potential reason may be that the current model does not adequately represent the seasonal cycle of microbial organisms and soil macroinvertebrates, which have high biomass and activity during peak growing seasons and tend to be dormant during non-growing seasons. Our results confirm that modelling soil respiration can be significantly improved by better model representations of the soil water retention curve.

Junyi Liang et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Junyi Liang et al.
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Short summary
Soil respiration, the second largest carbon fluxes between the atmosphere and land, is not well represented in Earth system models, and few studies have attempted to address this deficiency. In this study, using long-term observations at a temperate forest, we identified a simple solution for using better soil water potential simulations to improve predictions of soil respiration in Earth system models.
Soil respiration, the second largest carbon fluxes between the atmosphere and land, is not well...
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