Forest carbon processes are affected by, among other factors, soil moisture, soil temperature, soil nutrients and solar radiation. Most of the current biogeochemical models are 1-D and represent one point in space. Therefore, they cannot resolve the topographically driven hill-slope land surface heterogeneity or the spatial pattern of nutrient availability.
A spatially distributed forest ecosystem model, Flux-PIHM-BGC, has been developed by coupling a 1-D mechanistic biogeochemical model Biome-BGC (BBGC) with a spatially distributed land surface hydrologic model, Flux-PIHM. Flux-PIHM is a coupled physically based model, which incorporates a land-surface scheme into the Penn State Integrated Hydrologic Model (PIHM). The land surface scheme is adapted from the Noah land surface model. Flux-PIHM is able to represent the link between groundwater and the surface energy balance, as well as the land surface heterogeneities caused by topography. In the coupled Flux-PIHM-BGC model, each Flux-PIHM model grid couples a 1-D BBGC model, while soil nitrogen is transported among model grids via subsurface water flow. In each grid, Flux-PIHM provides BBGC with soil moisture, soil temperature, and solar radiation information, while BBGC provides Flux-PIHM with leaf area index.
The coupled Flux-PIHM-BGC model has been implemented at the Susquehanna/Shale Hills critical zone observatory (SSHCZO). Model results suggest that the vegetation and soil carbon distribution is primarily constrained by nitorgen availability (affected by nitorgen transport via topographically driven subsurface flow), and also constrained by solar radiation and root zone soil moisture. The predicted vegetation and soil carbon distribution generally agrees with the macro pattern observed within the watershed. The coupled ecosystem-hydrologic model provides an important tool to study the impact of topography on watershed carbon processes, as well as the impact of climate change on water resources.
Shi, Y., Eissenstat, D.M., Davis, K.J., and He, Y. (2016): Using a spatially-distributed hydrologic biogeochemistry model to study the spatial variation of carbon processes in a Critical Zone Observatory. 2016 Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, CA, 12-16 Dec..
This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.