A roadmap for improving the representation of photosynthesis in Earth system models

Rogers, Alistair; Medlyn, Belinda E.; Dukes, Jeffrey S.; Bonan, Gordon; von Caemmerer, Susanne; Dietze, Michael C.; Kattge, Jens; Leakey, Andrew D.B.; Mercado, Lina M.; Niinemets, Ulo; Prentice, I. Colin; Serbin, Shawn P.; Sitch, Stephen; Way, Danielle A.; Zaehle, Sonke. 2017 A roadmap for improving the representation of photosynthesis in Earth system models. New Phytologist, 213 (1). 22-42.

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Accurate representation of photosynthesis in terrestrial biosphere models (TBMs) is essential for robust projections of global change. However, current representations vary markedly between TBMs, contributing uncertainty to projections of global carbon fluxes. Here we compared the representation of photosynthesis in seven TBMs by examining leaf and canopy level responses of photosynthetic CO2 assimilation (A) to key environmental variables: light, temperature, CO2 concentration, vapor pressure deficit and soil water content. We identified research areas where limited process knowledge prevents inclusion of physiological phenomena in current TBMs and research areas where data are urgently needed for model parameterization or evaluation. We provide a roadmap for new science needed to improve the representation of photosynthesis in the next generation of terrestrial biosphere and Earth system models.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Reynard
ISSN: 0028-646X
Additional Keywords: carbon dioxide, CO2, light, soil water content, stomatal conductance, temperature, terrestrial biosphere models, vapor pressure deficit (VPD)
NORA Subject Terms: Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 14 Dec 2016 13:55 +0 (UTC)

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