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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: model description paper 01 Apr 2019

Submitted as: model description paper | 01 Apr 2019

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

A new terrestrial biosphere model with coupled carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycles (QUINCY v1.0; revision 1772)

Tea Thum1, Silvia Caldararu1, Jan Engel1, Melanie Kern1,2,3, Marleen Pallandt1,2, Reiner Schnur4, Lin Yu1, and Sönke Zaehle1,5 Tea Thum et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Hans-Knöll Str. 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
  • 2International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Jena, Germany
  • 3Technical University Munich - School of Life Sciences, Weihenstephan, Germany
  • 4Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
  • 5Michael Stifel Center Jena for Data-driven and Simulation Science, Jena, Germany

Abstract. The dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems are shaped by the coupled cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus, and strongly depend on the availability of water and energy. These interactions shape future terrestrial biosphere responses to global change. Many process-based models of the terrestrial biosphere have been gradually extended from considering carbon-water interactions to also including nitrogen, and later, phosphorus dynamics. This evolutionary model development has hindered full integration of these biogeochemical cycles and the feedbacks amongst them. Here we present a new terrestrial ecosystem model QUINCY (QUantifying Interactions between terrestrial Nutrient CYcles and the climate system), which is formulated around a consistent representation of element cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. This new model includes i) a representation of plant growth which separates source (e.g. photosynthesis) and sink (growth rate of individual tissues, constrained by nutrients, temperature, and water availability) processes; ii) the acclimation of many ecophysiological processes to meteorological conditions and/or nutrient availabilities; iii) an explicit representation of vertical soil processes to separate litter and soil organic matter dynamics; iv) a range of new diagnostics (leaf chlorophyll content; 13C, 14C, and 15N isotope tracers) to allow for a more in-depth model evaluation. We present the model structure and provide an assessment of its performance against a range of observations from global-scale ecosystem monitoring networks. We demonstrate that the framework is capable of consistently simulating ecosystem dynamics across a large gradient in climate and soil conditions, as well as across different plant functional types. To aid this understanding we provide an assessment of the model's sensitivity to its parameterisation and the associated uncertainty.

Tea Thum et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Tea Thum et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
To predict the response of the vegetation to climate change, we need global models that describe the processes taking place in the vegetation. Recently we have obtained more in-depth understanding of vegetation dynamics and the role of nutrients in the biogeochemical cycles. We have developed a new global vegetation model, that includes carbon, water, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles. We show that the model is successful in evaluation against a wide range of observations.
To predict the response of the vegetation to climate change, we need global models that describe...