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Original Research Papers

A model of the coupled dynamics of climate, vegetation and terrestrial ecosystem biogeochemistry for regional applications

Authors:

Benjamin Smith ,

Department of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, Lund University, Geocentrum II, SE-22362, Lund, SE
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Patrick Samuelsson,

Rossby Centre, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, SE-60176, Norrköping, SE
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Anna Wramneby,

Department of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, Lund University, Geocentrum II, SE-22362, Lund, SE
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Markku Rummukainen

Department of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, Lund University, Geocentrum II, SE-22362, Lund; Rossby Centre, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, SE-60176, Norrköping, SE
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Abstract

Regional climate models (RCMs) primarily represent physical components of the climate system, omitting vegetation dynamics, ecosystem biogeochemistry and their associated feedbacks. To account for such feedbacks, we implemented a novel plant individual-based vegetation dynamics-ecosystem biogeochemistry scheme within the RCA3 RCM. Variations in leaf area index (LAI) of seven plant functional type (PFTs) in response to physical forcing and evolving vegetation state feed back to climate via adjustments in surface energy fluxes and surface properties. In an ERA-40-driven simulation over Europe, the model reproduces the recent past climate with comparable accuracy to the standard RCM. Large-scale patterns of LAI, net primary production and vegetation composition were comparable with observations, although winter LAI was systematically overestimated compared to satellite estimates. Analysis of the ERA-40 simulation and an A1B climate-change simulation revealed considerable covariation among dynamic variables of the physical climate and vegetation. At a Mediterranean site, periodic soil water limitation led to fluctuations in leaf cover and a likely positive feedback to near-surface temperature. At an alpine site, rising temperatures led to forest advance onto tundra areas, reducing albedo and effecting a likely positive feedback on temperature. Climate—vegetation coupling was less pronounced but still apparent at intermediate temperate and boreal sites.

How to Cite: Smith, B., Samuelsson, P., Wramneby, A. and Rummukainen, M., 2011. A model of the coupled dynamics of climate, vegetation and terrestrial ecosystem biogeochemistry for regional applications. Tellus A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography, 63(1), pp.87–106. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0870.2010.00477.x
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  Published on 01 Jan 2011
 Accepted on 21 Jul 2010            Submitted on 12 Mar 2010

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