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https://doi.org/10.5194/esdd-6-217-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
09 Feb 2015
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD). The revised manuscript was not accepted.
Appraising the capability of a land biosphere model as a tool in modelling land surface interactions: results from its validation at selected European ecosystems
M. R. North1, G. P. Petropoulos1, G. Ireland1, and J. P. McCalmont2 1Department of Geography & Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, SY23 3DB, UK
2Institute of Biological, Rural and Environmental Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, SY23 3EB, UK
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) 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 W m−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.


Citation: North, M. R., Petropoulos, G. P., Ireland, G., and McCalmont, J. P.: Appraising the capability of a land biosphere model as a tool in modelling land surface interactions: results from its validation at selected European ecosystems, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/esdd-6-217-2015, 2015.
M. R. North et al.
M. R. North et al.

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Short summary
This study evaluated the ability of the SimSphere SVAT model in estimating key parameters characterising land surface interactions. Results confirmed the correspondence of the model structure to real conditions for which it had been parameterised, evidencing its ability to reproduce outputs akin to the in situ data. To our knowledge this is the first comprehensive validation of the model. Findings are very important since use of the model is growing globally as educational and research tool.
This study evaluated the ability of the SimSphere SVAT model in estimating key parameters...
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