Modelling the impact of wood density dependent tree mortality on the spatial distribution of Amazonian vegetation carbon
Abstract. Spatially heterogeneous plant mortality rates are an important predictor of the distribution of vegetation carbon in Amazonia. Reproducing the spatial gradients of vegetation carbon in Amazonia and the observed decline in the intact Amazonian carbon sink since 1990 is a challenge faced by dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs). In this paper, we implement spatially variable mortality rates in TRIFFID, the DGVM currently coupled to the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES), and compare with the standard model which assumes a homogeneous mortality rate. Spatially variable gridded fields of Amazonian tree mortality are created using a well-known relationship between mortality and wood density, and three independent wood density maps. The diversified mortality scheme substantially improves the representation of vegetation carbon in TRIFFID when compared to observations, with a 90 % reduction in model bias and an increase in the Pearson correlation coefficient with observed biomass. JULES now captures the observed variability of both mortality and vegetation carbon to a greater extent, demonstrating the potential of using easily-measured traits, like wood density, to add spatial and functional diversity into DGVMs. Despite this, the spatial variation of vegetation carbon simulated with the new mortality fields (with standard deviation 15 MgCha-1) is still less than half of the variation in the observed data (standard deviation 35 MgCha-1). Future work should consider the effects of additional processes, like fire, drought and the phosphorus cycle, on the simulated distribution of vegetation carbon in the Amazon.
This preprint has been withdrawn.
Data for: Modelling the impact of wood density dependent tree mortality on the spatial distribution of Amazonian vegetation carbon https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6388019
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