Appraising the capability of a land biosphere model as a tool in modelling land surface interactions: results from its validation at selected European ecosystems

Matthew North, George Petropoulos, Gareth Ireland, Jon McCalmont

Research output: Working paper

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Abstract

In this present study the ability of the SimSphere Soil Vegetation Atmosphere Transfer (SVAT) model in estimating key parameters characterising land surface interactions was evaluated. Specifically, SimSphere’s performance in predicting Net Radiation (Rnet), Latent Heat (LE), Sensible Heat (H) and Air Temperature (Tair 5 ) at 1.3 and 50 m was examined. Model simulations were validated by ground-based measurements of the corresponding parameters for a total of 70 days of the year 2011 from 7 CarboEurope network sites. These included a variety of biomes, environmental and climatic conditions in the models evaluation. Overall, model performance can largely be described as satisfactory for most of the experimental sites and evaluated parameters. For all model parameters compared, predicted H fluxes consistently obtained the highest agreement to the in-situ data in all ecosystems, with an average RMSD of 55.36 Wm−2. LE fluxes and Rnet also agreed well with the in-situ data with RSMDs of 62.75 and 64.65 W m−2 respectively. A good agreement between modelled and measured LE and H fluxes was found, especially for smoothed daily flux trends. For both Tair 1.3 m and Tair 50 m a mean RMSD of 4.14 and 3.54 ◦C was reported respectively.

This work presents the first all-inclusive evaluation of SimSphere, particularly so in a European setting. Results of this study contribute decisively towards obtaining a better understanding of the model’s structure and its correspondence to the real world system. Findings also further establish the model’s capability as a useful teaching and research tool in modelling Earth’s land surface interactions. This is of considerable importance in the light of the rapidly expanding use of the model worldwide, including ongoing research by various Space Agencies examining its synergistic use with Earth Observation data towards the development of operational products at a global scale.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEarth System Dynamics Discussions
PublisherCopernicus Publications
Pages217–265
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 09 Feb 2015

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