Submitted as: model description paper 06 Oct 2021

Submitted as: model description paper | 06 Oct 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

Novel coupled permafrost-forest model revealing the interplay between permafrost, vegetation, and climate across eastern Siberia

Stefan Kruse1, Simone M. Stuenzi1,2, Julia Boike1,2, Moritz Langer1,2, Josias Gloy1, and Ulrike Herzschuh1,3,4 Stefan Kruse et al.
  • 1Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
  • 2Department of Geography, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, 12489 Berlin, Germany
  • 3Institute of Environmental Sciences and Geography, University of Potsdam, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
  • 4Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, 14476 Potsdam, Germany

Abstract. Boreal forests of Siberia play a relevant role in the global carbon cycle. However, global warming threatens the existence of summergreen larch-dominated ecosystems likely enabling a transition to evergreen tree taxa with deeper active layers. Complex permafrost-vegetation interactions make it uncertain whether these ecosystems could develop into a carbon source rather than continuing atmospheric carbon sequestration under global warming. Consequently, shedding light on the role of current and future active-layer dynamics and the feedbacks with the apparent tree species is crucial to predict boreal forest transition dynamics, and thus for aboveground forest biomass and carbon stock developments. Hence, we established a coupled model version amalgamating a one-dimensional permafrost-multilayer forest land-surface model (CryoGrid), with LAVESI, an individual-based and spatially explicit forest model for larch species (Larix Mill.), extended for this study by including other relevant Siberian forest species and explicit terrain.

Following parametrization, we ran simulations with the coupled version to the near future to 2030 with a mild climate-warming scenario. We focus on three regions, covering a gradient of summergreen forests in the east at Spasskaya Pad to mixed summergreen-evergreen forests close to Nyurba, and the warmest area at Lake Khamra in the south-east of Yakutia, Russia. Coupled simulations were run with the newly implemented boreal forest species and compared to runs allowing only one species at a time, as well as to simulations using just LAVESI. Results reveal that the coupled version corrects for overestimation of active-layer thickness (ALT) and soil moisture and large differences in established forests are simulated. We conclude that the coupled version can simulate the complex environment of central Siberia reproducing vegetation patterns making it an excellent tool to disentangle processes driving boreal forest dynamics.

Stefan Kruse et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CEC1: 'Comment on gmd-2021-304', Astrid Kerkweg, 03 Nov 2021
  • RC1: 'Comment on gmd-2021-304', Anonymous Referee #1, 11 Nov 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on gmd-2021-304', Anonymous Referee #2, 23 Dec 2021

Stefan Kruse et al.

Stefan Kruse et al.


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Short summary
We coupled established models for boreal forest (LAVESI) and permafrost dynamics (CryoGrid) in Siberia for investigating interactions of the diverse vegetation layer with permafrost soils. Our tests showed improved active layer depth estimations and newly included species grow according to their species-specific limits. We conclude that the new model system can be applied to simulate boreal forest dynamics and transitions under global warming and disturbances expanding our knowledge.