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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  04 Sep 2020

04 Sep 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Plant phenology evaluation of CRESCENDO land surface models – Part I: start and end of growing season

Daniele Peano1, Deborah Hemming2, Stefano Materia1, Christine Delire3, Yuanchao Fan4,5, Emilie Joetzjer3, Hanna Lee4, Julia E. M. S. Nabel6, Taejin Park7,8, Philippe Peylin9, David Wårlind10, Andy Wiltshire2,11, and Sönke Zaehle12 Daniele Peano et al.
  • 1Fondazione Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici, CSP, Bologna, Italy
  • 2Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK
  • 3Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques, UMR3589, Université de Toulouse/Météo-France/CNRS, Toulouse, France
  • 4NORCE Norwegian Research Centre AS, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway
  • 5Harvard University, Cambridge, USA
  • 6Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
  • 7NASA Ames Research Centre, CA, USA
  • 8Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, CA, USA
  • 9Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et l’Environnement, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 10Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Faculty of Science, Lund University, Sweden
  • 11Global Systemss Insitute,University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
  • 12Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany

Abstract. Plant phenology plays a fundamental role in land-atmosphere interactions, and its variability and variations are an indicator of climate and environmental changes. For this reason, current land surface models include phenology parameterizations and related biophysical and biogeochemical processes. In this work, the climatology of beginning and end of the growing season, simulated by seven state-of-the-art European land surface models, is evaluated globally against satellite observations. The assessment is performed using the vegetation metric leaf area index and a recently-developed approach, named four growing season types. On average, the land surface models show a 0.6-month delay in the growing season start, while they are about 0.5 months earlier in the growing season end. Difference with observation tends to be higher in the Southern Hemisphere compared to the Northern Hemisphere. High agreement between land surface models and observations is exhibited in areas dominated by broad-leaf deciduous trees, while high variability is noted in regions dominated by broad-leaf deciduous shrubs. Generally, the timing of the growing season end is accurately simulated in about 25 % of global land grid points versus 16 % in the timing of growing season start. The refinement of phenology parameterization can lead to better representation of vegetation-related energy, water, and carbon cycles in land surface models, but plant phenology is also affected by plant physiology and soil hydrology processes. Consequently, phenology representation and, in general, vegetation modelling is a complex task, which still needs further improvement, evaluation, and multi-model comparison.

Daniele Peano et al.

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Daniele Peano et al.

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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Global climate models are the scientist's tools used in studying past, present, and future climate conditions. This work examines the ability of a group of our tools in reproducing and capturing the right timing and length of the season when plants show their green leaves. This season, indeed, is fundamental for CO2 exchanges between land and atmosphere, and climate. This work shows that discrepancies compared to observations remain demanding further polishing of these tools.
Global climate models are the scientist's tools used in studying past, present, and future...