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Journal Article

Harmonising plant funtional type distributions for evaluating Earth System Models

MPS-Authors
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Dallmeyer,  Anne
Director’s Research Group LES, The Land in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons37123

Claussen,  Martin
Director’s Research Group LES, The Land in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons37113

Brovkin,  Victor
Climate-Biogeosphere Interaction, The Land in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Fulltext (public)

cp-15-335-2019.pdf
(Publisher version), 12MB

Supplementary Material (public)

2019_CP_Dallmeyer.zip
(Supplementary material), 49MB

Citation

Dallmeyer, A., Claussen, M., & Brovkin, V. (2019). Harmonising plant funtional type distributions for evaluating Earth System Models. Climate of the Past, 15, 335-366. doi:10.5194/cp-2018-41.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-B800-F
Abstract
Dynamic vegetation models simulate global vegetation in terms of fractional coverages of a few plant functional types (PFTs). Although these models often share the same concept, they differ with respect to the number and kind of PFTs, complicating the comparability of simulated vegetation distributions. Pollen-based reconstructions are initially only available in form of time-series of individual taxa that are not distinguished in the models. Thus, to evaluate simulated vegetation distributions, the modelling results and pollen-based reconstructions have to be converted into a comparable format. The classical approach is the method of biomisation, but hitherto, PFT-based biomisation methods were only available for individual models. We introduce and evaluate a simple, universally applicable technique to harmonize PFT-distributions by assigning them into nine mega-biomes that follow the definitions commonly used for vegetation reconstructions. The method works well for all state-of the art dynamic vegetation models, independent of the spatial resolution or the complexity of the models. Large biome belts (such as tropical forest) are well represented, but regionally confined biomes (warm-mixed forest, Savanna) are only partly captured. Overall, the PFT-based biomisation is able to keep up with the conventional biomisation approach of forcing biome models (here: BIOME1) with the background climate states. The new method has, however, the advantage that it allows a more direct comparison and evaluation of the vegetation distributions simulated by Earth System Models. Thereby, the new method provides a powerful tool for the evaluation of Earth System Models in general.