Improved evaporative flux partitioning and carbon flux in the land surface model JULES: impact on the simulation of land surface processes in temperate Europe
Van Den Hoof, C., Vidale, P. L., Verhoef, A. and Vincke, C. (2013) Improved evaporative flux partitioning and carbon flux in the land surface model JULES: impact on the simulation of land surface processes in temperate Europe. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 181. pp. 108-124. ISSN 0168-1923
To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2013.07.011
The primary role of land surface models embedded in climate models is to partition surface available energy into upwards, radiative, sensible and latent heat fluxes. Partitioning of evapotranspiration, ET, is of fundamental importance: as a major component of the total surface latent heat flux, ET affects the simulated surface water balance, and related energy balance, and consequently the feedbacks with the atmosphere. In this context it is also crucial to credibly represent the CO2 exchange between ecosystems and their environment. In this study, JULES, the land surface model used in UK weather and climate models, has been evaluated for temperate Europe. Compared to eddy covariance flux measurements, the CO2 uptake by the ecosystem is underestimated and the ET overestimated. In addition, the contribution to ET from soil and intercepted water evaporation far outweighs the contribution of plant transpiration. To alleviate these biases, adaptations have been implemented in JULES, based on key literature references. These adaptations have improved the simulation of the spatio-temporal variability of the fluxes and the accuracy of the simulated GPP and ET, including its partitioning. This resulted in a shift of the seasonal soil moisture cycle. These adaptations are expected to increase the fidelity of climate simulations over Europe. Finally, the extreme summer of 2003 was used as evaluation benchmark for the use of the model in climate change studies. The improved model captures the impact of the 2003 drought on the carbon assimilation and the water use efficiency of the plants. It, however, underestimates the 2003 GPP anomalies. The simulations showed that a reduction of evaporation from the interception and soil reservoirs, albeit not of transpiration, largely explained the good correlation between the carbon and the water fluxes anomalies that was observed during 2003. This demonstrates the importance of being able to discriminate the response of individual component of the ET flux to environmental forcing.