06 December 2016

Improved phenology model for CLM

Science

By creating a new model which closely matches direct oberservations of the timing of bud break and leaf fall this research improvesour ability to predict the exchange of carbon and energy between the land and the atmosphere. 

Impact

Land surface models calculate the energy and carbon exchange between the amosphere and the land surface. Because plants are important controls of these exchanges,the timing of bud break and leaf fall is an important factor in the relationship between the land surface and the climate. The research also enables future research to force the models using real observations. 

Summary

The phenology model within the Community Land Model (CLM) exhibits some problems in representing the timing and evolution of leaf area in forests. This research uses the extensive Phenocam network (http://PhenoCam.sr.unh.edu) - a network of web enabled cameras which monitors the timing on leaf production and senescence to develop a phenology model for the CLM. The seasonal-deciduous spring phenology sub-model in CLM  with the new PhenoCam spring phenology model. The new model was evaluated against leaf area products from MODIS and a Pan-European Phenology Project dataset. The new model had lower error, less bias and higher correlation to the evaluation datasets. The new model alters the predicted response of land surface phenology to potential future climates.

Contact
Andrew Richardson
Harvard University