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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Integration of nitrogen dynamics into the Noah-MP land model v1.1 for climate and environmental predictions

  • Author(s): Cai, X
  • Yang, Z-L
  • Fisher, JB
  • Zhang, X
  • Barlage, M
  • Chen, F
  • et al.

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Abstract. Climate and terrestrial biosphere models consider nitrogen an important factor in limiting plant carbon uptake, while operational environmental models view nitrogen as the leading pollutant causing eutrophication in water bodies. The community Noah land surface model with multi-parameterization options (Noah-MP) is unique in that it is the next generation land surface model for the Weather Research and Forecasting meteorological model and for the operational weather/climate models in the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. In this study, we add capability to Noah-MP to simulate nitrogen dynamics by coupling the Fixation and Uptake of Nitrogen (FUN) plant model and the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) soil nitrogen dynamics. This incorporates FUN's state-of-the-art concept of carbon cost theory and SWAT's strength in representing the impacts of agricultural management on the nitrogen cycle. Parameterizations for direct root and mycorrhizal-associated nitrogen uptake, leaf retranslocation, and symbiotic biological nitrogen fixation are employed from FUN, while parameterizations for nitrogen mineralization, nitrification, immobilization, volatilization, atmospheric deposition, and leaching are based on SWAT. The coupled model is then evaluated at the Kellogg Biological Station – a Long-term Ecological Research site within the U.S. Corn Belt. Results show that the model performs well in capturing the major nitrogen state/flux variables (e.g., soil nitrate and nitrate leaching). Furthermore, the addition of nitrogen dynamics improves the modeling of the carbon and water cycles (e.g., net primary productivity and evapotranspiration). The model improvement is expected to advance the capability of Noah-MP to simultaneously predict weather and water quality in fully coupled Earth system models.

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