Articles | Volume 8, issue 4
Model description paper
22 Apr 2015
Model description paper |  | 22 Apr 2015

JULES-crop: a parametrisation of crops in the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator

T. Osborne, J. Gornall, J. Hooker, K. Williams, A. Wiltshire, R. Betts, and T. Wheeler

Abstract. Studies of climate change impacts on the terrestrial biosphere have been completed without recognition of the integrated nature of the biosphere. Improved assessment of the impacts of climate change on food and water security requires the development and use of models not only representing each component but also their interactions. To meet this requirement the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES) land surface model has been modified to include a generic parametrisation of annual crops. The new model, JULES-crop, is described and evaluation at global and site levels for the four globally important crops; wheat, soybean, maize and rice. JULES-crop demonstrates skill in simulating the inter-annual variations of yield for maize and soybean at the global and country levels, and for wheat for major spring wheat producing countries. The impact of the new parametrisation, compared to the standard configuration, on the simulation of surface heat fluxes is largely an alteration of the partitioning between latent and sensible heat fluxes during the later part of the growing season. Further evaluation at the site level shows the model captures the seasonality of leaf area index, gross primary production and canopy height better than in the standard JULES. However, this does not lead to an improvement in the simulation of sensible and latent heat fluxes. The performance of JULES-crop from both an Earth system and crop yield model perspective is encouraging. However, more effort is needed to develop the parametrisation of the model for specific applications. Key future model developments identified include the introduction of processes such as irrigation and nitrogen limitation which will enable better representation of the spatial variability in yield.