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Resolving temperature limitation on spring productivity in an evergreen conifer forest using a model–data fusion frameworkAbstract. The flow of carbon through terrestrial ecosystems and the response toclimate are critical but highly uncertain processes in the global carboncycle. However, with a rapidly expanding array of in situ and satellitedata, there is an opportunity to improve our mechanistic understanding ofthe carbon (C) cycle's response to land use and climate change. Uncertaintyin temperature limitation on productivity poses a significant challenge topredicting the response of ecosystem carbon fluxes to a changing climate.Here we diagnose and quantitatively resolve environmental limitations onthe growing-season onset of gross primary production (GPP) using nearly 2 decades of meteorological and C flux data (2000–2018) at a subalpineevergreen forest in Colorado, USA. We implement the CARbonDAta-MOdel fraMework (CARDAMOM) model–datafusion network to resolve the temperature sensitivity of spring GPP. Tocapture a GPP temperature limitation – a critical component of the integratedsensitivity of GPP to temperature – we introduced a cold-temperature scalingfunction in CARDAMOM to regulate photosynthetic productivity. We found thatGPP was gradually inhibited at temperatures below 6.0 ∘C (±2.6 ∘C) and completely inhibited below −7.1 ∘C(±1.1 ∘C). The addition of this scaling factor improvedthe model's ability to replicate spring GPP at interannual and decadal timescales (r=0.88), relative to the nominal CARDAMOM configuration (r=0.47), and improved spring GPP model predictability outside of themore »
Abstract. The terrestrial carbon cycle plays a critical role in modulating the interactions of climate with the Earth system, but different models often make vastly different predictions of its behavior. Efforts to reduce model uncertainty have commonly focused on model structure, namely by introducing additional processes and increasing structural complexity. However, the extent to which increased structural complexity can directly improve predictive skill is unclear. While adding processes may improve realism, the resulting models are often encumbered by a greater number of poorly determined or over-generalized parameters. To guide efficient model development, here we map the theoretical relationship between model complexity and predictive skill. To do so, we developed 16 structurally distinct carbon cycle models spanning an axis of complexity and incorporated them into a model–data fusion system. We calibrated each model at six globally distributed eddy covariance sites with long observation time series and under 42 data scenarios that resulted in different degrees of parameter uncertainty. For each combination of site, data scenario, and model, we then predicted net ecosystem exchange (NEE) and leaf area index (LAI) for validation against independent local site data. Though the maximum model complexity we evaluated is lower than most traditional terrestrial biosphere models, themore »