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Volume 11, issue 10
Biogeosciences, 11, 2661–2678, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Biogeosciences, 11, 2661–2678, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 20 May 2014

Research article | 20 May 2014

Evaluating the potential of large-scale simulations to predict carbon fluxes of terrestrial ecosystems over a European Eddy Covariance network

M. Balzarolo2,1, S. Boussetta3, G. Balsamo3, A. Beljaars3, F. Maignan4, J.-C. Calvet5, S. Lafont6,5, A. Barbu5, B. Poulter7,4, F. Chevallier4, C. Szczypta5,8, and D. Papale1 M. Balzarolo et al.
  • 1DIBAF, University of Tuscia, via S. Camillo de Lellis, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
  • 2PLECO group, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium
  • 3ECMWF, Shinfield Park, Reading, RG2 9AX, England
  • 4LSCE-IPSL, UMR8212 (CEA/CNRS/UVSQ), Orme des Merisiers, 91191 Gif sur Yvette Cedex, France
  • 5CNRM-GAME, UMR3589 (Météo-France, CNRS), 42 Avenue Gaspard Coriolis, 31057 Toulouse Cedex 1, France
  • 6INRA, UMR 1391 ISPA, 33140 Villenave d'Ornon, France
  • 7Montana State University, Institute on Ecosystems, Department of Ecology, Bozeman, Montana 59717, USA
  • 8CESBIO, CNES/CNRS/IRD/UPS – UMR5126, 18 avenue. Edouard Belin, bpi 2801, 31401 Toulouse cedex 9, France

Abstract. This paper reports a comparison between large-scale simulations of three different land surface models (LSMs), ORCHIDEE, ISBA-A-gs and CTESSEL, forced with the same meteorological data, and compared with the carbon fluxes measured at 32 eddy covariance (EC) flux tower sites in Europe. The results show that the three simulations have the best performance for forest sites and the poorest performance for cropland and grassland sites. In addition, the three simulations have difficulties capturing the seasonality of Mediterranean and sub-tropical biomes, characterized by dry summers. This reduced simulation performance is also reflected in deficiencies in diagnosed light-use efficiency (LUE) and vapour pressure deficit (VPD) dependencies compared to observations. Shortcomings in the forcing data may also play a role. These results indicate that more research is needed on the LUE and VPD functions for Mediterranean and sub-tropical biomes. Finally, this study highlights the importance of correctly representing phenology (i.e. leaf area evolution) and management (i.e. rotation–irrigation for cropland, and grazing–harvesting for grassland) to simulate the carbon dynamics of European ecosystems and the importance of ecosystem-level observations in model development and validation.

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