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Publication Date
29 August 2022

Impact of the numerical solution approach of a plant hydrodynamic model (v0.1) on vegetation dynamics



Abstract. Numerous plant hydrodynamic models have started to be implemented in vegetation dynamics models, reflecting the central role of plant hydraulic traits in driving water, energy, and carbon cycles, as well as plant adaptation to climate change. Different numerical approximations of the governing equations of the hydrodynamic models have been documented, but the numerical accuracy of these models and its subsequent effects on the simulated vegetation function and dynamics have rarely been evaluated. Using different numerical solution methods (including implicit and explicit approaches) and vertical discrete grid resolutions, we evaluated the numerical performance of a plant hydrodynamic module in the Functionally Assembled Terrestrial Ecosystem Simulator (FATES-HYDRO version 0.1) based on single-point and global simulations. Our simulation results showed that when near-surface vertical grid spacing is coarsened (grid size >10 cm), the model significantly overestimates aboveground biomass (AGB) in most of the temperate forest locations and underestimates AGB in the boreal forest locations, as compared to a simulation with finer vertical grid spacing. Grid coarsening has a small effect on AGB in the tropical zones of Asia and South America. In particular, coarse surface grid resolution should not be used when there are large and prolonged water content differences among soil layers at depths due to long dry-season duration and/or well-drained soil or when soil evaporation is a dominant fraction of evapotranspiration. Similarly, coarse surface grid resolution should not be used when there is lithologic discontinuity along the soil depth. This information is useful for uncertainty quantification, sensitivity analysis, or the training of surrogate models to design the simulations when computational cost limits the use of ensemble simulations.

Fang, Yilin, L. Ruby Leung, Ryan Knox, Charlie Koven, and Ben Bond-Lamberty. 2022. “Impact Of The Numerical Solution Approach Of A Plant Hydrodynamic Model (V0.1) On Vegetation Dynamics”. Geoscientific Model Development 15 (16). Copernicus GmbH: 6385-6398. doi:10.5194/gmd-15-6385-2022.
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