Articles | Volume 7, issue 8
Biogeosciences, 7, 2397–2417, 2010

Special issue: Regional exchange of carbon between land and the atmosphere

Biogeosciences, 7, 2397–2417, 2010

  16 Aug 2010

16 Aug 2010

Simulating carbon exchange using a regional atmospheric model coupled to an advanced land-surface model

H. W. Ter Maat1, R. W. A. Hutjes1, F. Miglietta2, B. Gioli2, F. C. Bosveld3, A. T. Vermeulen4, and H. Fritsch5,* H. W. Ter Maat et al.
  • 1ESS-CC (Earth System Science-Climate Change), Alterra – Wageningen UR, Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • 2IBIMET, Via Giovanni Caproni 8, Florence, 50145, Italy
  • 3Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, De Bilt, The Netherlands
  • 4Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), Department of Air Quality and Climate Change, Petten, The Netherlands
  • 5Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany
  • *now at: Jena-Optronik, Jena, Germany

Abstract. This paper is a case study to investigate what the main controlling factors are that determine atmospheric carbon dioxide content for a region in the centre of The Netherlands. We use the Regional Atmospheric Modelling System (RAMS), coupled with a land surface scheme simulating carbon, heat and momentum fluxes (SWAPS-C), and including also submodels for urban and marine fluxes, which in principle should include the dominant mechanisms and should be able to capture the relevant dynamics of the system. To validate the model, observations are used that were taken during an intensive observational campaign in central Netherlands in summer 2002. These include flux-tower observations and aircraft observations of vertical profiles and spatial fluxes of various variables.

The simulations performed with the coupled regional model (RAMS-SWAPS-C) are in good qualitative agreement with the observations. The station validation of the model demonstrates that the incoming shortwave radiation and surface fluxes of water and CO2 are well simulated. The comparison against aircraft data shows that the regional meteorology (i.e. wind, temperature) is captured well by the model. Comparing spatially explicitly simulated fluxes with aircraft observed fluxes we conclude that in general latent heat fluxes are underestimated by the model compared to the observations but that the latter exhibit large variability within all flights. Sensitivity experiments demonstrate the relevance of the urban emissions of carbon dioxide for the carbon balance in this particular region. The same tests also show the relation between uncertainties in surface fluxes and those in atmospheric concentrations.

Final-revised paper