Articles | Volume 8, issue 6
Geosci. Model Dev., 8, 1709–1727, 2015

Special issue: The externalised surface model SURFEX

Geosci. Model Dev., 8, 1709–1727, 2015

Development and technical paper 10 Jun 2015

Development and technical paper | 10 Jun 2015

Improving the ISBACC land surface model simulation of water and carbon fluxes and stocks over the Amazon forest

E. Joetzjer1, C. Delire1, H. Douville1, P. Ciais2, B. Decharme1, D. Carrer1, H. Verbeeck3, M. De Weirdt3, and D. Bonal4 E. Joetzjer et al.
  • 1CNRM-GAME UMR3589, Groupe d'étude de l'atmosphère météorologique, 31000 Toulouse, France
  • 2Laboratory of Climate Sciences and the Environment (LSCE), Joint Unit of CEA-CNRS, L'Orme des Merisiers, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 3CAVElab Computational and Applied Vegetation Ecology, Department of Applied Ecology and Environmental Biology, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
  • 4INRA, UMR EEF, 54280 Champenoux, France

Abstract. We evaluate the ISBACC (Interaction Soil Biosphere Atmosphere Carbon Cycle) land surface model (LSM) over the Amazon forest, and propose a revised parameterization of photosynthesis, including new soil water stress and autotrophic respiration (RA) functions. The revised version allows the model to better capture the energy, water and carbon fluxes when compared to five Amazonian flux towers. The performance of ISBACC is slightly site dependent although similar to the widely evaluated LSM ORCHIDEE (Organizing Carbon and Hydrology In Dynamic Ecosystems – version 1187), which is based on different assumptions. Changes made to the autotrophic respiration functions, including a vertical profile of leaf respiration, lead to yearly simulated carbon use efficiency (CUE) and carbon stocks which is consistent with an ecophysiological meta-analysis conducted on three Amazonian sites. Despite these major improvements, ISBACC struggles to capture the apparent seasonality of the carbon fluxes derived from the flux tower estimations. However, there is still no consensus on the seasonality of carbon fluxes over the Amazon, stressing a need for more observations as well as a better understanding of the main drivers of autotrophic respiration.