Biogeochemistry–Climate Feedbacks Scientific Focus Area: Quantifying Feedbacks and Uncertainties of Biogeochemical Processes in Earth System Models

As earth system models (ESMs) become increasingly complex, there is a growing need for comprehensive and multi-faceted evaluation of model predictions. To advance our understanding of biogeochemical processes and their interactions with climate under conditions of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), we need to develop new ways to use observations to constrain model results and inform model development. Better representation of biogeochemistry–climate feedbacks and ecosystem processes in ESMs is essential for reducing uncertainties associated with projections of climate change during the remainder of the 21st century.

In an effort sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science through the Regional and Global Climate Modeling Program, a diverse team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California at Irvine, University of Michigan, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Argonne National Laboratory is developing new diagnostic approaches for evaluating ESM biogeochemical process representations. This research effort supports the International Land Model Benchmarking (ILAMB) Project by creating an open source benchmarking system that leverages a growing collection of laboratory, field, and remote sensing data. This benchmarking system, which will be extended to include ocean biogeochemistry, is expected to contribute model analysis and evaluation capabilities to phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) and future modeling experiments. In addition, the researchers will use this system to engage experimentalists, including those in DOE’s Terrestrial Ecosystem Science Program, in identifying model weaknesses and needed measurements and field experiments.

Project Term: 
2014 to 2017

Research Highlights:

Causes and Implications of Persistent Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Biases in ESMs Highlight Presentation
CESM1(BGC) Historical Carbon Cycle Characterized Highlight Presentation
Global Ocean Organosulfur Cycling: DMS in ACME Highlight Presentation
Global Ocean Organosulfur Cycling: DMS in ACME Highlight Presentation
Jinyun Tang Wins Outstanding Publication Award from the Ecological Society of America Highlight
Marine Macromolecules: Planetary Scale 2D Chemistry Highlight Presentation
Marine Macromolecules: Planetary Scale 2D Chemistry Highlight Presentation
Marine Macromolecules: Planetary Scale 2D Chemistry Highlight Presentation
Marine Macromolecules: Planetary Scale 2D Chemistry Highlight Presentation
Observations in Tundra Imply Needed Improvements in Land Models Highlight Presentation
Quantifying Drivers of Carbon Dioxide Interannual Variability Highlight Presentation
Representing Leaf and Root Physiological Traits in CLM Improves Global Carbon and Nitrogen Cycling Predictions Highlight Presentation