Articles | Volume 15, issue 5
Research article
16 Mar 2018
Research article |  | 16 Mar 2018

Ages and transit times as important diagnostics of model performance for predicting carbon dynamics in terrestrial vegetation models

Verónika Ceballos-Núñez, Andrew D. Richardson, and Carlos A. Sierra

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Cited articles

Bolin, B. and Rodhe, H.: A note on the concepts of age distribution and transit time in natural reservoirs, Tellus, 25, 58–62, 1973.
Canadell, J. G., Le Quéré, C., Raupach, M. R., Field, C. B., Buitenhuis, E. T., Ciais, P., Conway, T. J., Gillett, N. P., Houghton, R. A., and Marland, G.: Contributions to accelerating atmospheric CO2 growth from economic activity, carbon intensity, and efficiency of natural sinks, P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 104, 18866–18870, 2007.
Cressie, N., Calder, C. A., Clark, J. S., Hoef, J. M. V., and Wikle, C. K.: Accounting for Uncertainty in Ecological Analysis: the Strengths and Limitations of Hierarchical Statistical Modeling, Ecol. Appl., 19, 553–570, 2009.
Ericsson, T., Rytter, L., and Vapaavuori, E.: Physiology of carbon allocation in trees, Biomass Bioenerg., 11, 115–127,, 1996.
Fox, A., Williams, M., Richardson, A. D., Cameron, D., Gove, J. H., Quaife, T., Ricciuto, D., Reichstein, M., Tomelleri, E., Trudinger, C. M., and Wijk, M. T. V.: The REFLEX project: Comparing different algorithms and implementations for the inversion of a terrestrial ecosystem model against eddy covariance data, Agr. Forest Meteorol., 149, 1597–1615,, 2009.
Short summary
Will the terrestrial biosphere be a carbon source or sink in the future? Different model simulations cannot reach a consensus, so we need to diagnose the performance of these models. We implemented three models differing in their carbon allocation strategies and assessed their performance using three metrics. The most sensible metric was the distribution of carbon age and transit times. Thus, empirical measurements of these distributions could be key to reduce the model uncertainty.
Final-revised paper