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A Simplified Biosphere Model for Global Climate Studies


The Simple Biosphere Model (SiB) as described in Sellers et al. is a bio-physically based model of land surface-atmosphere interaction. For some general circulation model (GCM) climate studies, further simplifications are desirable to have greater computation efficiency, and more important, to consolidate the parametric representation. Three major reductions in the complexity of SiB have been achieved in the present study. The diurnal variation of surface albedo is computed in SiB by means of a comprehensive yet complex calculation. Since the diurnal cycle is quite regular for each vegetation type, this calculation can be simplified considerably. The effect of root zone soil moisture on stomatal resistance is substantial, but the computation in SiB is complicated and expensive. We have developed approximations, which simulate the effects of reduced soil moisture more simply, keeping the essence of the biophysical concepts used in SiB. The surface stress and the fluxes of heat and moisture between the top of the vegetation canopy and an atmospheric reference level have been parameterized in an off-line version of SiB based upon the studies by Businger et al. and Paulson. We have developed a linear relationship between Richardson number and aerodynamic resistance. Finally, the second vegetation layer of the original model does not appear explicitly after simplification. Compared to the model of Sellers et al., we have reduced the number of input parameters from 44 to 21. A comparison of results using the reduced parameter biosphere with those from the original formulation in a GCM and a zero-dimensional model shows the simplified version to reproduce the original results quite closely. After simplification, the computational requirement of SiB was reduced by about 55%.

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