A quantitative assessment of a terrestrial biosphere model's data needs across North American biomes

Michael C. Dietze, Shawn P. Serbin, Carl Davidson, Ankur R. Desai, Xiaohui Feng, Ryan Kelly, Rob Kooper, David Lebauer, Joshua Mantooth, Kenton McHenry, Dan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Terrestrial biosphere models are designed to synthesize our current understanding of how ecosystems function, test competing hypotheses of ecosystem function against observations, and predict responses to novel conditions such as those expected under climate change. Reducing uncertainties in such models can improve both basic scientific understanding and our predictive capacity, but rarely are ecosystem models employed in the design of field campaigns. We provide a synthesis of carbon cycle uncertainty analyses conducted using the Predictive Ecosystem Analyzer ecoinformatics workflow with the Ecosystem Demography model v2. This work is a synthesis of multiple projects, using Bayesian data assimilation techniques to incorporate field data and trait databases across temperate forests, grasslands, agriculture, short rotation forestry, boreal forests, and tundra. We report on a number of data needs that span a wide array of diverse biomes, such as the need for better constraint on growth respiration, mortality, stomatal conductance, and water uptake. We also identify data needs that are biome specific, such as photosynthetic quantum efficiency at high latitudes. We recommend that future data collection efforts balance the bias of past measurements toward aboveground processes in temperate biomes with the sensitivities of different processes as represented by ecosystem models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-300
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Bayesian
  • Ecosystem Demography
  • PEcAn
  • model-data feedback
  • uncertainty
  • variance decomposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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