The role of respiration in estimation of net carbon cycle: coupling soil carbon dynamics and canopy turnover in a novel version of 3D-CMCC forest ecosystem model


Understanding the dynamics of organic carbon mineralization is fundamental in forecasting biosphere to atmosphere net carbon ecosystem exchange (NEE). With this perspective, we developed 3D-CMCC-PSM, a new version of the hybrid process based model 3D‐CMCC FEM where also heterotrophic respiration (R h) is explicitly simulated. The aim was to quantify NEE as a forward problem, by subtracting ecosystem respiration (R eco) to gross primary productivity (GPP). To do so, we developed a simplification of the soil carbon dynamics routine proposed in the DNDC (DeNitrification-DeComposition) computer simulation model. The method calculates decomposition as a function of soil moisture, temperature, state of the organic compartments, and relative abundance of microbial pools. Given the pulse dynamics of soil respiration, we introduced modifications in some of the principal constitutive relations involved in phenology and littering sub-routines. We quantified the model structure-related uncertainty in NEE, by running our training simulations over 1000 random parameter-sets extracted from parameter distributions expected from literature. 3D-CMCC-PSM predictability was tested on independent time series for 6 Fluxnet sites. The model resulted in daily and monthly estimations highly consistent with the observed time series. It showed lower predictability in Mediterranean ecosystems, suggesting that it may need further improvements in addressing evapotranspiration and water dynamics.