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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 10, issue 11 | Copyright
Biogeosciences, 10, 7109-7131, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-10-7109-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 10 Nov 2013

Research article | 10 Nov 2013

The effect of vertically resolved soil biogeochemistry and alternate soil C and N models on C dynamics of CLM4

C. D. Koven1, W. J. Riley1, Z. M. Subin1,2, J. Y. Tang1, M. S. Torn1, W. D. Collins1, G. B. Bonan3, D. M. Lawrence3, and S. C. Swenson3 C. D. Koven et al.
  • 1Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), Berkeley, CA, USA
  • 2Now at Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton, NJ, USA
  • 3National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, CO, USA

Abstract. Soils are a crucial component of the Earth system; they comprise a large portion of terrestrial carbon stocks, mediate the supply and demand of nutrients, and influence the overall response of terrestrial ecosystems to perturbations. In this paper, we develop a new soil biogeochemistry model for the Community Land Model, version 4 (CLM4). The new model includes a vertical dimension to carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) pools and transformations, a more realistic treatment of mineral N pools, flexible treatment of the dynamics of decomposing carbon, and a radiocarbon (14C) tracer. We describe the model structure, compare it with site-level and global observations, and discuss the overall effect of the revised soil model on Community Land Model (CLM) carbon dynamics. Site-level comparisons to radiocarbon and bulk soil C observations support the idea that soil C turnover is reduced at depth beyond what is expected from environmental controls for temperature, moisture, and oxygen that are considered in the model. In better agreement with observations, the revised soil model predicts substantially more and older soil C, particularly at high latitudes, where it resolves a permafrost soil C pool. In addition, the 20th century-C dynamics of the model are more realistic than those of the baseline model, with more terrestrial C uptake over the 20th century due to reduced N downregulation and longer turnover times for decomposing C.

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