Numerous studies have explored the role of vegetation in controlling and mediating hydrological states and fluxes at the level of individual processes, which has led to improvements in our understanding of plot‐scale dynamics. Relatively less effort has been directed toward spatially‐explicit studies of vegetation‐hydrology interactions at larger scales of a landscape. Only few continuous, process‐oriented ecohydrological models had been proposed with structures of varying complexity. This study contributes to their further evolution and presents a novel ecohydrological model, Tethys‐Chloris. The model synthesizes the state‐of‐the‐art knowledge on individual processes and coupling mechanisms drawn from the disciplines of hydrology, plant physiology, and ecology. Specifically, the model reproduces all essential components of the hydrological cycle: it resolves the mass and energy budgets in the atmospheric surface layer at the hourly scale, while representing up to two layers of vegetation; it includes a module of snowpack evolution; it describes the saturated and unsaturated soil water dynamics, processes of runoff generation and flow routing. The component of vegetation dynamics parameterizes life cycle processes of different plant functional types, including photosynthesis, phenology, carbon allocation, and tissue turnover. This study presents a confirmation of the long‐term, plot‐scale model performance by simulating two types of ecosystems corresponding to different climate conditions. A consistent and highly satisfactory model skill in reproducing the energy and water budgets as well as physiological cycles of plants with minimum calibration overhead is demonstrated. Furthermore, these applications demonstrate that the model permits the identification of data types and observation frequencies crucial for appropriate evaluation of modeled dynamics. More importantly, through a synthesis of a wide array of process representations, the model ensures that climate, soil, vegetation, and topography collectively identify essential modes controlling ecohydrological systems, i.e., that satisfactory performance is a result of appropriate mimicking of internal processes.
Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 2012
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