Picture (above): Forest in Bad Pyrmont. Credit: Sebastian Unrau (Unsplash).

Changes in rainfall are likely to have significant ecological and societal consequences. In this study, CLEX researchers and colleagues tested the ability of 10 terrestrial biosphere models to reproduce observed sensitivity of ecosystem productivity to rainfall changes (rainfall exclusion/irrigation) at ten sites across the globe.

The results highlighted a series of key weaknesses in our models capacity to simulate the correct responses to a change in rainfall. For example, at mesic sites, the model agreement was highest for fine timescales (day-month) but weakened at seasonal to annual timescales.

Models tended to overestimate the response of ecosystem productivity to rainfall, in particular, models were better able to reproduce results from rainfall exclusions, rather than rainfall addition experiments.

  • Paper: Paschalis, A., Fatichi, S., Zscheischler, J., Ciais, P., Bahn, M., Boysen, L., Chang, J., De Kauwe, M. G., Estiarte, M., Goll, D. Hanson, P. J., Harper, A. B., Hou, E., Kigel, J., Knapp, A. K., Larsen, K. S., Li, W.,Lierert, S., Luo, Y. Meir, P., Ogaya, R., Parolari, A. J., Peng, C., Penuelas, J., Pongratz, J., Rambal, S.,Schmidt, I. K., Shi, H., Sternberg, M., Tian, H., Tschumi, E., Ukkola, A., Vicca, S., Viovy, N., Wang, Y.-P.,Wang, Z., Wu, D., and Zhu, Q. (2020) Rainfall-manipulation experiments as simulated by terrestrial biosphere models: where do we stand? Global Change Biology, DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15024