Using ecosystem experiments to improve vegetation models


Journal Article (Review)

© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Ecosystem responses to rising CO 2 concentrations are a major source of uncertainty in climate change projections. Data from ecosystem-scale Free-Air CO 2 Enrichment (FACE) experiments provide a unique opportunity to reduce this uncertainty. The recent FACE Model-Data Synthesis project aimed to use the information gathered in two forest FACE experiments to assess and improve land ecosystem models. A new 'assumption-centred' model intercomparison approach was used, in which participating models were evaluated against experimental data based on the ways in which they represent key ecological processes. By identifying and evaluating the main assumptions causing differences among models, the assumption-centred approach produced a clear roadmap for reducing model uncertainty. Here, we explain this approach and summarize the resulting research agenda. We encourage the application of this approach in other model intercomparison projects to fundamentally improve predictive understanding of the Earth system.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Medlyn, BE; Zaehle, S; De Kauwe, MG; Walker, AP; Dietze, MC; Hanson, PJ; Hickler, T; Jain, AK; Luo, Y; Parton, W; Prentice, IC; Thornton, PE; Wang, S; Wang, YP; Weng, E; Iversen, CM; Mccarthy, HR; Warren, JM; Oren, R; Norby, RJ

Published Date

  • January 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 5 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 528 - 534

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1758-6798

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1758-678X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/nclimate2621

Citation Source

  • Scopus