Sensitivity and uncertainty analysis of grassland models in Europe and Israel

Renáta Sándor


Grassland models are valuable tools to test hypotheses on grassland ecosystem functioning. In the frame of FACCE MACSUR LiveM, a model intercomparison was conducted using a dataset from an observational and experimental network of nine multi-year grassland sites spread across Europe (France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and United Kingdom) and Israel, and a suite of nine models to understand grassland functioning in the region. Grassland-specific approaches were compared to approaches mainly conceived to simulate crops and plant functional types. Model evaluation against actual measurements was performed before and after model calibration. The calibrated models were used to analyze their sensitivity to independent variations of temperature, precipitation and [CO2]. The results show to which extent calibration can accommodate model discrepancies. The sensitivity of simulated gross primary production to [CO2] and temperature is an important outcome, considering the fundamental effect of rising temperature and [CO2] on the C cycling of terrestrial ecosystems in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Overall, alternative models exhibit a different sensitivity to climate change factors, with different performances over different conditions. Explained by the basic processes of each model and also induced by different calibration methods, this difference is indicative that more models can be complementary and deliver greater insights than if they were applied individually.

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Authors: Renáta Sándor1, Marco Acutis2, Zoltan Barcza3, Haythem Ben Touhami1, Luca Doro4, Dora Hidy5, Martin Köchy6, Shaoxiu Ma1, Julien Minet7, Eszter Lellei-Kovács8, Alessia Perego2, Susanne Rolinski9, Françoise Ruget10, Giovanna Seddaiu4, Lianhai Wu11, Gianni Bellocchi1

Affiliations: 1Grassland Ecosystem Research Unit, French National Institute for Agricultural Research, Clermont-Ferrand, France, 2University of Milan, Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Production, Landscape, Agroenergy, Milan, Italy, 3Eötvös Loránd University, Department of Meteorology, Budapest, Hungary, 4University of Sassari, Desertification Research Centre, Sassari, Italy, 5Szent István University, MTA-SZIE Plant Ecology Research Group, Gödöllő, Hungary, 6Thünen Institute of Market Analysis, Braunschweig, Germany, 7University of Liège, Arlon Environment Campus, Arlon, Belgium, 8MTA Centre for Ecological Research, Institute of Ecology and Botany, Vácrátót, Hungary, 9Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany, 10French National Institute for Agricultural Research, Modelling Agricultural and Hydrological Systems in the Mediterranean Environment, Avignon, France, 11Rothamsted Research, North Wyke, Okehampton, United Kingdom

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