A multi-model assessment of terrestrial biosphere model data needs

Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 14:25
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Terrestrial biosphere models provide us with the means to simulate the impacts of climate change and their uncertainties. Going beyond direct observation and experimentation, models synthesize our current understanding of ecosystem processes and can give us insight on data needed to constrain model parameters. In previous work, we leveraged the Predictive Ecosystem Analyzer (PEcAn) to assess the contribution of different parameters to the uncertainty of the Ecosystem Demography model v2 (ED) model outputs across various North American biomes (Dietze et al., JGR-G, 2014). While this analysis identified key research priorities, the extent to which these priorities were model- and/or biome-specific was unclear. Furthermore, because the analysis only studied one model, we were unable to comment on the effect of variability in model structure to overall predictive uncertainty. Here, we expand this analysis to all biomes globally and a wide sample of models that vary in complexity: BioCro, CABLE, CLM, DALEC, ED2, FATES, G’DAY, JULES, LANDIS, LINKAGES, LPJ-GUESS, MAESPA, PRELES, SDGVM, SIPNET, and TEM. Prior to performing uncertainty analyses, model parameter uncertainties were assessed by assimilating all available trait data from the combination of the BETYdb and TRY trait databases, using an updated multivariate version of PEcAn’s Hierarchical Bayesian meta-analysis. Next, sensitivity analyses were performed for all models across a range of sites globally to assess sensitivities for a range of different outputs (GPP, ET, SH, Ra, NPP, Rh, NEE, LAI) at multiple time scales from the sub-annual to the decadal. Finally, parameter uncertainties and model sensitivities were combined to evaluate the fractional contribution of each parameter to the predictive uncertainty for a specific variable at a specific site and timescale. Facilitated by PEcAn’s automated workflows, this analysis represents the broadest assessment of the sensitivities and uncertainties in terrestrial models to date, and provides a comprehensive roadmap for constraining model uncertainties through model development and data collection.

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