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Ying Shi, Miao Yu, Amir Erfanian, and Guiling Wang

Abstract

Using the Regional Climate Model (RegCM) coupled with the Community Land Model (CLM) including modules of carbon–nitrogen cycling (CN) and vegetation dynamics (DV), this study evaluates the performance of the model with different capacity of representing vegetation processes in simulating the present-day climate over China based on three 21-yr simulations driven with boundary conditions from the ERA-Interim reanalysis data during 1989–2009. For each plant functional type (PFT), the plant pheonology, density, and fractional coverage in RegCM-CLM are all prescribed as static from year to year; RegCM-CLM-CN prescribes static fractional coverage but predicts plant phenology and density, and RegCM-CLM-CN-DV predicts plant phenology, density, and fractional coverage. Compared against the observational data, all three simulations reproduce the present-day climate well, including the wind fields, temperature and precipitation seasonal cycles, extremes, and interannual variabilities. Relative to RegCM-CLM, both RegCM-CLM-CN and RegCM-CLM-CN-DV perform better in simulating the interannual variability of temperature and spatial distribution of mean precipitation, but produce larger biases in the mean temperature field. RegCM-CLM-CN overestimates leaf area index (LAI), which enhances the cold biases and alleviates the dry biases found in RegCM-CLM. RegCM-CLM-CN-DV underestimates vegetation cover and/or stature, and hence overestimates surface albedo, which enhances the wintertime cold and dry biases found in RegM-CLM. During summer, RegCM-CLM-CN-DV overestimates LAI in south and east China, which enhances the cold biases through increased evaporative cooling; in the west where evaporation is low, the albedo effect of the underestimated vegetation cover is still dominant, leading to enhanced cold biases relative to RegCM-CLM.

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