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The predictive uncertainty of land surface fluxes in response to increasing ambient CO2.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date1/06/2001
JournalJournal of Climate
Number of pages12
Original languageEnglish


The exchange of water vapor and carbon dioxide (CO2) between the land surface and the atmosphere plays an important role in numerical weather forecasting and climate change prediction using general circulation models. In this study, a typical representation of photosynthesis as used in recent soil–vegetation–atmosphere transfer schemes has been analyzed within a Monte Carlo–based uncertainty estimation framework to estimate the predictive uncertainty of land surface fluxes in response to increasing levels of ambient CO2. The comparison of predicted latent heat and carbon fluxes with measurements from a two-week concentrated field campaign within the Northern Hemisphere Climate Processes Land Surface Experiment (NOPEX) project identified the problem of model equifinality in that many different model parameterizations are shown to be able to reproduce the observed data acceptably well. The same parameter sets, however, lead to the prediction of a wide range of possible responses of latent heat and carbon fluxes when the boundary conditions are changed to doubled ambient CO2 concentrations.

Bibliographic note

This is the first paper to use generalised uncertainty estimation to explore model calibration of a fully coupled CO2-latent heat land surface parameterisations constrained on eddy covariance observations. Intellectual input was split equally between Schulz, Jarvis and Beven, Soegaard provided the eddy covariance data. RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences