Articles | Volume 10, issue 10
Research article
17 Oct 2013
Research article |  | 17 Oct 2013

Improved light and temperature responses for light-use-efficiency-based GPP models

I. McCallum, O. Franklin, E. Moltchanova, L. Merbold, C. Schmullius, A. Shvidenko, D. Schepaschenko, and S. Fritz

Abstract. Gross primary production (GPP) is the process by which carbon enters ecosystems. Models based on the theory of light use efficiency (LUE) have emerged as an efficient method to estimate ecosystem GPP. However, problems have been noted when applying global parameterizations to biome-level applications. In particular, model–data comparisons of GPP have shown that models (including LUE models) have difficulty matching estimated GPP. This is significant as errors in simulated GPP may propagate through models (e.g. Earth system models). Clearly, unique biome-level characteristics must be accounted for if model accuracy is to be improved. We hypothesize that in boreal regions (which are strongly temperature controlled), accounting for temperature acclimation and non-linear light response of daily GPP will improve model performance.

To test this hypothesis, we have chosen four diagnostic models for comparison, namely an LUE model (linear in its light response) both with and without temperature acclimation and an LUE model and a big leaf model both with temperature acclimation and non-linear in their light response. All models include environmental modifiers for temperature and vapour pressure deficit (VPD). Initially, all models were calibrated against five eddy covariance (EC) sites within Russia for the years 2002–2005, for a total of 17 site years. Model evaluation was performed via 10-out cross-validation.

Cross-validation clearly demonstrates the improvement in model performance that temperature acclimation makes in modelling GPP at strongly temperature-controlled sites in Russia. These results would indicate that inclusion of temperature acclimation in models on sites experiencing cold temperatures is imperative. Additionally, the inclusion of a non-linear light response function is shown to further improve performance, particularly in less temperature-controlled sites.

Final-revised paper