Sensitivity Properties of a Biosphere Model Based on BATS and a Statistical-Dynamical Climate Model

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  • 1 Department of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
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Abstract

A biosphere model based on the Biosphere-Atmosphere Transfer Scheme (BATS) and the Saltzman-Vernekar (SV) statistical-dynamical climate model is developed. Some equations of BATS are adopted either intact or with modifications, some are conceptually modified, and still others are replaced with equations of the SV model.

The model is designed so that it can be run independently as long as the parameters related to the physiology and physiognomy of the vegetation, the atmospheric conditions, solar radiation, and soil conditions are given. With this stand-alone biosphere model, a series of sensitivity investigations, particularly the model sensitivity to fractional area of vegetation cover, soil surface water availability, and solar radiation for different types of vegetation, were conducted as a first step. These numerical experiments indicate that the presence of a vegetation cover greatly enhances the exchanges of momentum, water vapor, and energy between the atmosphere and the surface of the earth. An interesting result is that a dense and thick vegetation cover tends to serve as an environment conditioner or, more specifically, a thermostat and a humidistat, since the soil surface temperature, foliage temperature, and temperature and vapor pressure of air within the foliage are practically insensitive to variation of soil surface water availability and even solar radiation within a wide range. An attempt is also made to simulate the gradual deterioration of environment accompanying gradual degradation of a tropical forest to grasslands. Comparison with field data shows that this model can realistically simulate the land surface processes involving biospheric variations.

Abstract

A biosphere model based on the Biosphere-Atmosphere Transfer Scheme (BATS) and the Saltzman-Vernekar (SV) statistical-dynamical climate model is developed. Some equations of BATS are adopted either intact or with modifications, some are conceptually modified, and still others are replaced with equations of the SV model.

The model is designed so that it can be run independently as long as the parameters related to the physiology and physiognomy of the vegetation, the atmospheric conditions, solar radiation, and soil conditions are given. With this stand-alone biosphere model, a series of sensitivity investigations, particularly the model sensitivity to fractional area of vegetation cover, soil surface water availability, and solar radiation for different types of vegetation, were conducted as a first step. These numerical experiments indicate that the presence of a vegetation cover greatly enhances the exchanges of momentum, water vapor, and energy between the atmosphere and the surface of the earth. An interesting result is that a dense and thick vegetation cover tends to serve as an environment conditioner or, more specifically, a thermostat and a humidistat, since the soil surface temperature, foliage temperature, and temperature and vapor pressure of air within the foliage are practically insensitive to variation of soil surface water availability and even solar radiation within a wide range. An attempt is also made to simulate the gradual deterioration of environment accompanying gradual degradation of a tropical forest to grasslands. Comparison with field data shows that this model can realistically simulate the land surface processes involving biospheric variations.

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