CARAIB, a mechanistic model of carbon assimilation in the biosphere estimates the net primary productivity (NPP) of the continental vegetation on a grid of 1° × 1° in latitude and longitude. The model considers the annual and diurnal cycles. It is based on the coupling of the three following submodels; a leaf assimilation model including estimates of stomatal conductance and leaf respiration, a canopy model describing principally the radiative transfer through the foliage, and a wood respiration model. Present‐day climate and vegetation characteristics allow the discrimination between ecotypes. In particular, specific information on vegetation distribution and properties is successfully used at four levels; the leaf physiological level, the plant level, the ecosystem level, and the global level. The productivity determined by the CARAIB model is compared with local measurements and empirical estimates showing a good agreement with a global value of 65 Gt C yr−1. The sensitivity of the model to the diurnal cycle and to the abundance of C4 species is also tested. The productivity slightly decreases (10%) when the diurnal cycle of the temperature is neglected. By contrast, neglecting the diurnal cycle of solar irradiance produces unrealistically high values of NPP. Even if the importance of this increase would presumably be reduced by the coupling of CARAIB with a nutrient cycle model, this test emphasizes the key role of the diurnal cycle in a mechanistic model of the NPP. Uncertainties on the abundance and spatial distribution of C4 plants may cause errors in the NPP estimates, however, as demonstrated by two sensitivity tests, these errors are certainly lower than 10% at the global scale as shown by two tests.
Global Biogeochemical Cycles – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 1994
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