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Publication Date
24 February 2022

Supporting hierarchical soil biogeochemical modeling: version 2 of the Biogeochemical Transport and Reaction model (BeTR-v2)



Reliable soil biogeochemical modeling is a prerequisite for credible projections of climate change and associated ecosystem feedbacks. This recognition has called for frameworks that can support flexible and efficient development and application of new or alternative soil biogeochemical modules in Earth system models (ESMs). The the Biogeochemical Transport and Reaction model version 1 (BeTR-v1) code (i.e., CLM4-BeTR) is one such framework designed to accelerate the development and integration of new soil biogeochemistry formulations into ESMs and to analyze structural uncertainty in ESM simulations. With a generic reactive transport capability, BeTR-v1 can represent multiphase (e.g., gaseous, aqueous, and solid), multi-tracer (e.g., nitrate and organic carbon), and multi-organism (e.g., plants, bacteria, and fungi) dynamics. Here, we describe the new version, Biogeochemical Transport and Reaction model version 2 (BeTR-v2), which adopts more robust numerical solvers for multiphase diffusion and advection and coupling between biogeochemical reactions and improves code modularization over BeTR-v1. BeTR-v2 better supports different mathematical formulations in a hierarchical manner by allowing the resultant model be run for a single topsoil layer or a vertically resolved soil column, and it allows the model to be fully coupled with the land component of the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM). We demonstrate the capability of BeTR-v2 with benchmark cases and example soil biogeochemical (BGC) implementations. By taking advantage of BeTR-v2's generic structure integrated in E3SM, we then found that calibration could not resolve biases introduced by different numerical coupling strategies of plant–soil biogeochemistry. These results highlight the importance of numerically robust implementation of soil biogeochemistry and coupling with hydrology, thermal dynamics, and plants – capabilities that the open-source BeTR-v2 provides. We contend that Earth system models should strive to minimize this uncertainty by applying better numerical solvers.

Tang, Jinyun, William J. Riley, and Qing Zhu. 2022. “Supporting Hierarchical Soil Biogeochemical Modeling: Version 2 Of The Biogeochemical Transport And Reaction Model (Betr-V2)”. Geoscientific Model Development 15 (4). Copernicus GmbH: 1619-1632. doi:10.5194/gmd-15-1619-2022.
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