Articles | Volume 15, issue 10
Review article
 | Highlight paper
29 May 2015
Review article | Highlight paper |  | 29 May 2015

Reliable, robust and realistic: the three R's of next-generation land-surface modelling

I. C. Prentice, X. Liang, B. E. Medlyn, and Y.-P. Wang

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Cited articles

Abramowitz, G.: Towards a benchmark for land surface models, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L22702,, 2005.
Ahlström, A., Schurgers, G., Arneth, A., and Smith, B.: Robustness and uncertainty in terrestrial ecosystem carbon response to CMIP5 climate change projections, Environ. Res. Lett., 7, 044008,, 2012.
Ainsworth, E. A. and Long, S. P.: What have we learned from 15 years of free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE)? A meta-analytic review of the responses of photosynthesis, canopy properties and plant production to rising CO2, New Phytol., 165, 351–372, 2005.
Amenu, G. G. and Kumar, P.: A model for hydraulic redistribution incorporating coupled soil-root moisture transport, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 55–74,, 2008.
Anav, A., Friedlingstein, P., Kidston, M., Bopp, L., Ciais, P., Cox, P., Jones, C., Jung, M., Myneni, R., and Zhu, Z.: Evaluating the land and ocean components of the global carbon cycle in the CMIP5 Earth system mode, J. Climate, 26, 6801–6843, 2013.
Short summary
Land surface models (LSMs) describe how carbon and water fluxes react to environmental change. They are key component of climate models, yet they differ enormously. Many perform poorly, despite having many parameters. We outline a development strategy emphasizing robustness, reliability and realism, none of which is guaranteed by complexity alone. We propose multiple constraints, benchmarking and data assimilation, and representing unresolved processes stochastically, as tools in this endeavour.
Final-revised paper