The Sensitivity of Simulated Competition Between Different Plant Functional Types to Subgrid Scale Representation of Vegetation in a Land Surface Model

Friday, 19 December 2014
Rudra K Shrestha, Vivek Arora and Joe R Melton, CCCma, Victoria, BC, Canada
Vegetation is a dynamic component of the earth system that affects weather and climate at hourly to centennial time scales. However, most current dynamic vegetation models do not explicitly simulate competition among Plant Functional Types (PFTs). Here we use the coupled CLASS-CTEM model (Canadian Land Surface Scheme coupled to Canadian Terrestrial Ecosystem Model) to explicitly simulate competition between nine PFTs for available space using a modified version of Lotka – Volterra (LV) predator-prey equations. The nine PFTs include evergreen and deciduous needleleaf trees, evergreen and cold and drought deciduous broadleaf trees and C3 and C4 crops and grasses. The CLASS-CTEM model can be configured either in the composite (single tile) or the mosaic (multiple tiles) mode. Our results show that the model is sensitive to the chosen mode. The simulated fractional coverage of PFTs are similar between two approaches at some locations whereas at the other locations the two approaches yield different results. The simulated fractional coverage of PFTs are also compared with the available observations-based estimates. Simulated results at selected locations across the globe show that the model is able to realistically simulate the fractional coverage of tree and grass PFTs and the bare fraction, as well as the fractional coverage of individual tree and grass PFTs. Along with the observed patterns of vegetation distribution the CLASS-CTEM modelling framework is also able to simulate realistic succession patterns. Some differences remain and these are attributed to the coarse spatial resolution of the model (~3.75°) and the limited number of PFTs represented in the model.