Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2022-105
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2022-105
Submitted as: development and technical paper
03 Jun 2022
Submitted as: development and technical paper | 03 Jun 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

Impact of numerical solution approach of a plant hydrodynamic model on vegetation dynamics

Yilin Fang1, Ruby Leung1, Ryan Knox2, Charlie Koven2, and Ben Bond-Lamberty1 Yilin Fang et al.
  • 1Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA
  • 2Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, USA

Abstract. Numerous plant hydrodynamic models have started to be implemented in vegetation dynamics models, reflecting the central role of plant hydraulic traits in driving water, energy and carbon cycle, as well as plant adaptation to climate change. Different numerical approximations of the governing equations of the hydrodynamic models have been documented, but the numerical accuracy of these models and its subsequent effects on the simulated vegetation function and dynamics have rarely been evaluated. Using different numerical solution methods (including implicit and explicit approaches) and vertical discrete grid resolutions, we evaluated the numerical performance of a plant hydrodynamic module in the Functionally Assembled Terrestrial Ecosystem Simulator (FATES-HYDRO) based on single point and global simulations. Our simulation results showed that when near-surface vertical grid spacing is coarsened (grid size > 10 cm), the model significantly overestimates above ground biomass (AGB) in most of the temperate forest locations, and underestimates AGB in the boreal forest locations, as compared to a simulation with finer vertical grid spacing. Grid coarsening has a small effect on AGB in the tropical zones of Asia and South America. In particular, coarse surface grid resolution should not be used when there are large and prolonged water content difference among soil layers at depths due to long dry season duration and/or well-drained soil, or when soil evaporation is a dominant fraction of evapotranspiration. Similarly, coarse surface grid resolution should not be used when there is lithologic discontinuity along the soil depth. This information is useful for uncertainty quantification, sensitivity analysis, or training surrogate models to design the simulations when computational cost limits the use of ensemble simulations.

Yilin Fang et al.

Status: open (until 30 Jul 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on gmd-2022-105', Gil Bohrer, 07 Jun 2022 reply
  • CEC1: 'Comment on gmd-2022-105', Astrid Kerkweg, 09 Jun 2022 reply

Yilin Fang et al.

Model code and software

FATES-HYDRO Yilin Fang, Ruby Leung, Ryan Knox, Charlie Koven, Ben Bond-Lamberty https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6461878

Yilin Fang et al.

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Short summary
Accounting for water movement in the soil and water transport within the plant is important for plant growth in Earth system modeling. We implemented different numerical approaches for a plant hydrodynamic model and compared their impacts on the simulated above ground biomass (AGB) at single points and globally. We found care should be taken when discretizing the number of soil layers for numerical simulations as it can significantly affect AGB if accuracy and computational costs are of concern.