Systematic bias in land surface models

Gab Abramowitz, Andy Pitman, Hoshin Gupta, Eva Kowalczyk, Yingping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


A neural network-based flux correction technique is applied to three land surface models. It is then used to show that the nature of systematic model error in simulations of latent heat, sensible heat, and the net ecosystem exchange of CO2 is shared between different vegetation types and indeed different models. By manipulating the relationship between the dataset used to train the correction technique and that used to test it, it is shown that as much as 45% of per-time-step model root-mean-square error in these flux outputs is due to systematic problems in those model processes insensitive to changes in vegetation parameters. This is shown in the three land surface models using flux tower measurements from 13 sites spanning 2 vegetation types. These results suggest that efforts to improve the representation of fundamental processes in land surface models, rather than parameter optimization, are the key to the development of land surface model ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)989-1001
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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