JULES-CN: a coupled terrestrial carbon–nitrogen scheme (JULES vn5.1).
Wiltshire, Andrew J.
Burke, Eleanor J.
Chadburn, Sarah E.
Jones, Chris D.
Cox, Peter M.
Harper, Anna B.
ATMOSPHERIC carbon dioxide
Geoscientific Model Development; Apr2021, Vol. 14 Issue 4, p2161-2186, 26p
Understanding future changes in the terrestrial carbon cycle is important for reliable projections of climate change and impacts on ecosystems. It is well known that nitrogen (N) could limit plants' response to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and it is therefore important to include a representation of the N cycle in Earth system models. Here we present the implementation of the terrestrial nitrogen cycle in the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES) – the land surface scheme of the UK Earth System Model (UKESM). Two configurations are discussed – the first one (JULES-CN) has a bulk soil biogeochemical model and the second one is a development configuration that resolves the soil biogeochemistry with depth (JULES-CN layer). In JULES the nitrogen (N) cycle is based on the existing carbon (C) cycle and represents all the key terrestrial N processes in a parsimonious way. Biological N fixation is dependent on net primary productivity, and N deposition is specified as an external input. Nitrogen leaves the vegetation and soil system via leaching and a bulk gas loss term. Nutrient limitation reduces carbon-use efficiency (CUE – ratio of net to gross primary productivity) and can slow soil decomposition. We show that ecosystem level N limitation of net primary productivity (quantified in the model by the ratio of the potential amount of C that can be allocated to growth and spreading of the vegetation compared with the actual amount achieved in its natural state) falls at the lower end of the observational estimates in forests (approximately 1.0 in the model compared with 1.01 to 1.38 in the observations). The model shows more N limitation in the tropical savanna and tundra biomes, consistent with the available observations. Simulated C and N pools and fluxes are comparable to the limited available observations and model-derived estimates. The introduction of an N cycle improves the representation of interannual variability of global net ecosystem exchange, which was more pronounced in the C-cycle-only versions of JULES (JULES-C) than shown in estimates from the Global Carbon Project. It also reduces the present-day CUE from a global mean value of 0.45 for JULES-C to 0.41 for JULES-CN and 0.40 for JULES-CN layer , all of which fall within the observational range. The N cycle also alters the response of the C fluxes over the 20th century and limits the CO 2 fertilisation effect, such that the simulated current-day land C sink is reduced by about 0.5 Pg C yr -1 compared to the version with no N limitation. JULES-CN layer additionally improves the representation of soil biogeochemistry, including turnover times in the northern high latitudes. The inclusion of a prognostic land N scheme marks a step forward in functionality and realism for the JULES and UKESM models. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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