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  1. Abstract. Farmers around the world time the planting of their crops to optimize growing season conditions and choose varieties that grow slowly enough to take advantage of the entire growing season while minimizing the risk of late-season kill. As climate changes, these strategies will be an important component of agricultural adaptation. Thus, it is critical that the global models used to project crop productivity under future conditions are able to realistically simulate growing season timing. This is especially important for climate- and hydrosphere-coupled crop models, where the intra-annual timing of crop growth and management affects regional weather and water availability. We have improved the crop module of the Community Land Model (CLM) to allow the use of externally specified crop planting dates and maturity requirements. In this way, CLM can use alternative algorithms for future crop calendars that are potentially more accurate and/or flexible than the built-in methods. Using observation-derived planting and maturity inputs reduces bias in the mean simulated global yield of sugarcane and cotton but increases bias for corn, spring wheat, and especially rice. These inputs also reduce simulated global irrigation demand by 15 %, much of which is associated with particular regions of corn and rice cultivation. Finally, we discuss how our results suggest areas for improvement in CLM and, potentially, similar crop models.

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  2. Abstract. Global change research demands a convergence among academic disciplines to understand complex changes in Earth system function. Limitations related to data usability and computing infrastructure, however, present barriers to effective use of the research tools needed for this cross-disciplinary collaboration. To address these barriers, we created a computational platform that pairs meteorological data and site-level ecosystem characterizations from the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) with the Community Terrestrial System Model (CTSM) that is developed with university partners at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). This NCAR–NEON system features a simplified user interface that facilitates access to and use of NEON observations and NCAR models. We present preliminary results that compare observed NEON fluxes with CTSM simulations and describe how the collaboration between NCAR and NEON that can be used by the global change research community improves both the data and model. Beyond datasets and computing, the NCAR–NEON system includes tutorials and visualization tools that facilitate interaction with observational and model datasets and further enable opportunities for teaching and research. By expanding access to data, models, and computing, cyberinfrastructure tools like the NCAR–NEON system will accelerate integration across ecology and climate science disciplines to advance understanding in Earth system science and global change.

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  3. null (Ed.)
  4. Abstract Despite their sparse vegetation, dryland regions exert a huge influence over global biogeochemical cycles because they cover more than 40% of the world surface (Schimel 2010 Science 327 418–9). It is thought that drylands dominate the inter-annual variability (IAV) and long-term trend in the global carbon (C) cycle (Poulter et al 2014 Nature 509 600–3, Ahlstrom et al 2015 Science 348 895–9, Zhang et al 2018 Glob. Change Biol . 24 3954–68). Projections of the global land C sink therefore rely on accurate representation of dryland C cycle processes; however, the dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs) used in future projections have rarely been evaluated against dryland C flux data. Here, we carried out an evaluation of 14 DGVMs (TRENDY v7) against net ecosystem exchange (NEE) data from 12 dryland flux sites in the southwestern US encompassing a range of ecosystem types (forests, shrub- and grasslands). We find that all the models underestimate both mean annual C uptake/release as well as the magnitude of NEE IAV, suggesting that improvements in representing dryland regions may improve global C cycle projections. Across all models, the sensitivity and timing of ecosystem C uptake to plant available moisture was at fault. Spring biases in gross primary production (GPP) dominate the underestimate of mean annual NEE, whereas models’ lack of GPP response to water availability in both spring and summer monsoon are responsible for inability to capture NEE IAV. Errors in GPP moisture sensitivity at high elevation forested sites were more prominent during the spring, while errors at the low elevation shrub and grass-dominated sites were more important during the monsoon. We propose a range of hypotheses for why model GPP does not respond sufficiently to changing water availability that can serve as a guide for future dryland DGVM developments. Our analysis suggests that improvements in modeling C cycle processes across more than a quarter of the Earth’s land surface could be achieved by addressing the moisture sensitivity of dryland C uptake. 
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  5. Abstract

    Interannual variations in the flux of carbon dioxide (CO2) between the land surface and the atmosphere are the dominant component of interannual variations in the atmospheric CO2growth rate. Here, we investigate the potential to predict variations in these terrestrial carbon fluxes 1–10 years in advance using a novel set of retrospective decadal forecasts of an Earth system model. We demonstrate that globally-integrated net ecosystem production (NEP) exhibits high potential predictability for 2 years following forecast initialization. This predictability exceeds that from a persistence or uninitialized forecast conducted with the same Earth system model. The potential predictability in NEP derives mainly from high predictability in ecosystem respiration, which itself is driven by vegetation carbon and soil moisture initialization. Our findings unlock the potential to forecast the terrestrial ecosystem in a changing environment.

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  6. Abstract

    Earth system models are intended to make long‐term projections, but they can be evaluated at interannual and seasonal time scales. Although the Community Earth System Model (CESM2) showed improvements in a number of terrestrial carbon cycle benchmarks, relative to its predecessor, our analysis suggests that the interannual variability (IAV) in net terrestrial carbon fluxes did not show similar improvements. The model simulated low IAV of net ecosystem production (NEP), resulting in a weaker than observed sensitivity of the carbon cycle to climate variability. Low IAV in net fluxes likely resulted from low variability in gross primary productivity (GPP)—especially in the tropics—and a high covariation between GPP and ecosystem respiration. Although lower than observed, the IAV of NEP had significant climate sensitivities, with positive NEP anomalies associated with warmer and drier conditions in high latitudes, and with wetter and cooler conditions in mid and low latitudes. We identified two dominant modes of seasonal variability in carbon cycle flux anomalies in our fully coupled CESM2 simulations that are characterized by seasonal amplification and redistribution of ecosystem fluxes. Seasonal amplification of net and gross carbon fluxes showed climate sensitivities mirroring those of annual fluxes. Seasonal redistribution of carbon fluxes is initiated by springtime temperature anomalies, but subsequently negative feedbacks in soil moisture during the summer and fall result in net annual carbon losses from land. These modes of variability are also seen in satellite proxies of GPP, suggesting that CESM2 appropriately represents regional sensitivities of photosynthesis to climate variability on seasonal time scales.

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  7. Abstract

    Agricultural expansion and management have greatly increased global food production and altered Earth's climate by changing physical and biogeochemical properties of terrestrial ecosystems. Few Earth system models represent agricultural management practices due to the complexity of the interactions between human decisions and biological processes on global scales. We describe the new capabilities of representing crop distributions and management in the Community Land Model (CLM) Version 5, which includes time‐varying spatial distributions of major crop types and their management through fertilization and irrigation, and temperature‐based phenological triggers. Including active crop management increases peak growing season gross primary productivity (GPP), increases the amplitude of Northern Hemisphere net ecosystem exchange, and changes seasonal and annual patterns of latent and sensible heat fluxes. The CLM5 crop model simulates the global observed historical trend of crop yields with relative fidelity from 1850 to 1990. Cropland expansion was important for increasing crop production, especially during the first century of the simulations, while fertilization and irrigation were important for increasing yields from 1950 onward. From 1990 to present day, observed crop production continued to increase while CLM5 production levels off, likely because intensification practices are not represented in the model. Specifically, CLM does not currently include increasing planting density, crop breeding and genetic modification, representations of tillage, or other management practices that may also affect crop‐climate and crop‐carbon cycle interactions and alter trends in yields. These results highlight the importance of including crop management in Earth system models, particularly as global data sets for parameterization and evaluation become more readily available.

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