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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 22, issue 1
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 111-125, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-22-111-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 111-125, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-22-111-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 08 Jan 2018

Research article | 08 Jan 2018

Pairing FLUXNET sites to validate model representations of land-use/land-cover change

Liang Chen1, Paul A. Dirmeyer1, Zhichang Guo1, and Natalie M. Schultz2 Liang Chen et al.
  • 1Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA
  • 2School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Abstract. Land surface energy and water fluxes play an important role in land–atmosphere interactions, especially for the climatic feedback effects driven by land-use/land-cover change (LULCC). These have long been documented in model-based studies, but the performance of land surface models in representing LULCC-induced responses has not been investigated well. In this study, measurements from proximate paired (open versus forest) flux tower sites are used to represent observed deforestation-induced changes in surface fluxes, which are compared with simulations from the Community Land Model (CLM) and the Noah Multi-Parameterization (Noah-MP) land model. Point-scale simulations suggest the CLM can represent the observed diurnal and seasonal changes in net radiation (Rnet) and ground heat flux (G), but difficulties remain in the energy partitioning between latent (LE) and sensible (H) heat flux. The CLM does not capture the observed decreased daytime LE, and overestimates the increased H during summer. These deficiencies are mainly associated with models' greater biases over forest land-cover types and the parameterization of soil evaporation. Global gridded simulations with the CLM show uncertainties in the estimation of LE and H at the grid level for regional and global simulations. Noah-MP exhibits a similar ability to simulate the surface flux changes, but with larger biases in H, G, and Rnet change during late winter and early spring, which are related to a deficiency in estimating albedo. Differences in meteorological conditions between paired sites is not a factor in these results. Attention needs to be devoted to improving the representation of surface heat flux processes in land models to increase confidence in LULCC simulations.

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This paper evaluates the performance of two commonly used land surface models in simulating deforestation-induced change in surface fluxes using paired FLUXNET observations. Our results highlight the shortcomings in the energy partitioning between latent and sensible heat flux over different land cover types, suggesting the need to improve the representation of surface heat flux processes in land models to increase confidence in LULCC-climate simulations.
This paper evaluates the performance of two commonly used land surface models in simulating...
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