Sensitivity and predictive uncertainty of the ACASA model at a spruce forest site
Abstract. The sensitivity and predictive uncertainty of the Advanced Canopy-Atmosphere-Soil Algorithm (ACASA) was assessed by employing the Generalized Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation (GLUE) method. ACASA is a stand-scale, multi-layer soil-vegetation-atmosphere transfer model that incorporates a third order closure method to simulate the turbulent exchange of energy and matter within and above the canopy. Fluxes simulated by the model were compared to sensible and latent heat fluxes as well as the net ecosystem exchange measured by an eddy-covariance system above the spruce canopy at the FLUXNET-station Waldstein-Weidenbrunnen in the Fichtelgebirge Mountains in Germany. From each of the intensive observation periods carried out within the EGER project (ExchanGE processes in mountainous Regions) in autumn 2007 and summer 2008, five days of flux measurements were selected. A large number (20000) of model runs using randomly generated parameter sets were performed and goodness of fit measures for all fluxes for each of these runs were calculated. The 10% best model runs for each flux were used for further investigation of the sensitivity of the fluxes to parameter values and to calculate uncertainty bounds.
A strong sensitivity of the individual fluxes to a few parameters was observed, such as the leaf area index. However, the sensitivity analysis also revealed the equifinality of many parameters in the ACASA model for the investigated periods. The analysis of two time periods, each representing different meteorological conditions, provided an insight into the seasonal variation of parameter sensitivity. The calculated uncertainty bounds demonstrated that all fluxes were well reproduced by the ACASA model. In general, uncertainty bounds encompass measured values better when these are conditioned on the respective individual flux only and not on all three fluxes concurrently. Structural weaknesses of the ACASA model concerning the soil respiration calculations and the simulation of the latent heat flux during dry conditions were detected, with improvements suggested for each.