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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.

Model evaluation paper 28 Mar 2019

Model evaluation paper | 28 Mar 2019

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

The biophysics, ecology, and biogeochemistry of functionally diverse, vertically- and horizontally-heterogeneous ecosystems: the Ecosystem Demography Model, version 2.2 – Part 2: Model evaluation

Marcos Longo1,2,3, Ryan G. Knox4,5, Naomi M. Levine6, Abigail L. S. Swann7, David M. Medvigy8, Michael C. Dietze9, Yeonjoo Kim10, Ke Zhang11, Damien Bonal12, Benoit Burban13, Plinio B. Camargo14, Matthew N. Hayek1, Scott R. Saleska15, Rodrigo da Silva16, Rafael L. Bras17, Steven C. Wofsy1, and Paul R. Moorcroft1 Marcos Longo et al.
  • 1Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 2Embrapa Agricultural Informatics, Campinas, SP, Brazil
  • 3Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 4Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 5Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, USA
  • 6University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • 7University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  • 8University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, USA
  • 9Boston University, Boston, MA, USA
  • 10Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Yonsei University, Seoul 03722, Republic of Korea
  • 11Hohai University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
  • 12INRA, UMR 1137 EEF, 54280, Champenoux, France
  • 13INRA, UMR 0745 EcoFoG, Campus Agronomique, 97379, Kourou, France
  • 14University of São Paulo, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil
  • 15University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
  • 16Federal University of Western Pará, Santarém, PA, Brazil
  • 17Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA

Abstract. The Ecosystem Demography Model version 2.2 (ED-2.2) is a terrestrial biosphere model that simulates the biophysical and biogeochemical cycles of dynamic ecosystems while considering the role of vertical structure of plant communities and the heterogeneity of such structures across the landscape. In a companion paper, we described in detail how the model solves the energy, water, and carbon cycles, and verified the excellent conservation of such properties in long-term simulation. Here, we present a thorough assessment of the model's ability to represent multiple processes associated with the biophysical and biogeochemical cycles, with focus on the Amazon forest. We used multiple measurements from eddy covariance towers, forest inventory plots and regional remote-sensing products to assess the model's ability to represent biophysical, physiological, and ecological processes at multiple time scales ranging from sub-daily to century-long. The ED-2.2 model accurately describes the vertical distribution of light, water fluxes and the storage of water, energy and carbon in the canopy air space, the regional distribution of biomass in tropical South America, and the variability of biomass as a function of environmental drivers. In addition, ED-2.2 also simulates emerging properties of the ecosystem found in observations, such as the relationship between biomass and mortality rates and wood density, although the relationships predicted by the model were biased. We also identified some of the model limitations, such as the model's tendency to overestimate the magnitude and seasonality of heterotrophic respiration, and to overestimate growth rates in a nutrient-poor tropical site. The evaluation presented here highlights the potential of incorporating structural and functional heterogeneity within biomes in ESMs, to realistically represent the role of forest structure and composition on energy, water, and carbon cycles, as well as the priority areas for further model development.

Marcos Longo et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Marcos Longo et al.
Model code and software

ED-2.2 source code M. Longo, R. Knox, D. M. Medvigy, N. M. Levine, M. Dietze, A. L. S. Swann, K. Zhang, C. Rollinson, M. di Porcia e Brugnera, D. Scott, S. P. Serbin, R. Kooper, A. Pourmokhtarian, A. Shiklomanov, and T. Viskari

Marcos Longo et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The Ecosystem Demography Model calculates the fluxes of heat, water, and carbon between plants and ground and the air, and the life cycle of plants in different climates. To test if our calculations were reasonable, we compared our results with field and satellite measurements. Our model predicts well the extent of the Amazon forest, how much light forests absorb, and how much water forests release to the air. However, it must improve the tree growth rates and how fast dead plants decompose.
The Ecosystem Demography Model calculates the fluxes of heat, water, and carbon between plants...