Biological and Environmental Research - Earth and Environmental System Sciences
Earth and Environmental System Modeling
12 November 2015

Representing Northern Peatland Microtopography and Hydrology within the Community Land Model

Schematic illustrating the hummock-hollow wetland hydrology model

Our objective was to improve predictive understanding of hydrologic processes in a high-carbon peatland, in advance of experimental warming and elevated CO2manipulations (the SPRUCE experiment). 


Microtopography (hummock-hollow) controls on wetland hydrology were introduced in a widely-used land model. This greatly improved simulation of water table depth for the hydrologically isolated bog environment. 


Apriori simulations of the experimental warming show significant impacts on water table depth. The new model captures observed relationship between evaporation and air temperature.  This work highlights the importance of water-energy interactions in this carbon-rich environment, and lays the foundation for future predictions of carbon cycle feedbacks in the warmed bog experiment.

Peter Thornton
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Shi, X, PE Thornton, DM Ricciuto, PJ Hanson, J Mao, SD Sebestyen, NA Griffiths, and G Bisht.  2015.  "Representing northern peatland microtopography and hydrology within the Community Land Model."