Accelerating the spin-up of the coupled carbon and nitrogen cycle model in CLM4
Abstract. The commonly adopted biogeochemistry spin-up process in an Earth system model (ESM) is to run the model for hundreds to thousands of years subject to periodic atmospheric forcing to reach dynamic steady state of the carbon–nitrogen (CN) models. A variety of approaches have been proposed to reduce the computation time of the spin-up process. Significant improvement in computational efficiency has been made recently. However, a long simulation time is still required to reach the common convergence criteria of the coupled carbon–nitrogen model. A gradient projection method was proposed and used to further reduce the computation time after examining the trend of the dominant carbon pools. The Community Land Model version 4 (CLM4) with a carbon and nitrogen component was used in this study. From point-scale simulations, we found that the method can reduce the computation time by 20–69% compared to one of the fastest approaches in the literature. We also found that the cyclic stability of total carbon for some cases differs from that of the periodic atmospheric forcing, and some cases even showed instability. Close examination showed that one case has a carbon periodicity much longer than that of the atmospheric forcing due to the annual fire disturbance that is longer than half a year. The rest was caused by the instability of water table calculation in the hydrology model of CLM4. The instability issue is resolved after we replaced the hydrology scheme in CLM4 with a flow model for variably saturated porous media.