Biological and Environmental Research - Earth and Environmental System Sciences
Earth and Environmental System Modeling

Sensitivity of Land Surface Modeling to Parameters: An uncertainty quantification method applied to the Community Land Model

Thursday, December 17, 2015 - 13:40 to 18:00
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Uncertainties in land parameters could have important impacts on simulated water and energy fluxes and land surface states, which will consequently affect atmospheric and biogeochemical processes. Therefore, quantification of such parameter uncertainties using a land surface model is the first step towards better understanding of predictive uncertainty in Earth system models. In this study, we applied a random-sampling, high-dimensional model representation (RS-HDMR) method to analyze the sensitivity of simulated photosynthesis, surface energy fluxes and surface hydrological components to selected land parameters in version 4.5 of the Community Land Model (CLM4.5). Because of the large computational expense of conducting ensembles of global gridded model simulations, we used the results of a previous cluster analysis to select one thousand representative land grid cells for simulation. Plant functional type (PFT)-specific uniform prior ranges for land parameters were determined using expert opinion and literature survey, and samples were generated with a quasi-Monte Carlo approach-Sobol sequence. Preliminary analysis of 1024 simulations suggested that four PFT-dependent parameters (including slope of the conductance-photosynthesis relationship, specific leaf area at canopy top, leaf C:N ratio and fraction of leaf N in RuBisco) are the dominant sensitive parameters for photosynthesis, surface energy and water fluxes across most PFTs, but with varying importance rankings. On the other hand, for surface ans sub-surface runoff, PFT-independent parameters, such as the depth-dependent decay factors for runoff, play more important roles than the previous four PFT-dependent parameters. Further analysis by conditioning the results on different seasons and years are being conducted to provide guidance on how climate variability and change might affect such sensitivity. This is the first step toward coupled simulations including biogeochemical processes, atmospheric processes or both to determine the full range of sensitivity of Earth system modeling to land-surface parameters. This can facilitate sampling strategies in measurement campaigns targeted at reduction of climate modeling uncertainties and can also provide guidance on land parameter calibration for simulation optimization.

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