Investigating a Hierarchy of Eulerian Closure Models for Scalar Transfer Inside Forested Canopies


Modelling the transfer of heat, water vapour, and CO2 between the biosphere and the atmosphere is made difficult by the complex two-way interaction between leaves and their immediate microclimate. When simulating scalar sources and sinks inside canopies on seasonal, inter-annual, or forest development time scales, the so-called well-mixed assumption (WMA) of mean concentration (i.e. vertically constant inside the canopy but dynamically evolving in time) is often employed. The WMA eliminates the need to model how vegetation alters its immediate microclimate, which necessitates formulations that utilize turbulent transport theories. Here, two inter-related questions pertinent to the WMA for modelling scalar sources, sinks, and fluxes at seasonal to inter-annual time scales are explored: (1) if the WMA is to be replaced so as to resolve this two-way interaction, how detailed must the turbulent transport model be? And (2) what are the added predictive skills gained by resolving the two-way interaction vis-à-vis other uncertainties such as seasonal variations in physiological parameters. These two questions are addressed by simulating multi-year mean scalar concentration and eddy-covariance scalar flux measurements collected in a Loblolly pine (P. taeda L.) plantation near Durham, North Carolina, U.S.A. using turbulent transport models ranging from K-theory (or first-order closure) to third-order closure schemes. The multi-layer model calculations with these closure schemes were contrasted with model calculations employing the WMA. These comparisons suggested that (i) among the three scalars, sensible heat flux predictions are most biased with respect to eddy-covariance measurements when using the WMA, (ii) first-order closure schemes are sufficient to reproduce the seasonal to inter-annual variations in scalar fluxes provided the canonical length scale of turbulence is properly specified, (iii) second-order closure models best agree with measured mean scalar concentration (and temperature) profiles inside the canopy as well as scalar fluxes above the canopy, (iv) there are no clear gains in predictive skills when using third-order closure schemes over their second-order closure counterparts. At inter-annual time scales, biases in modelled scalar fluxes incurred by using the WMA exceed those incurred when correcting for the seasonal amplitude in the maximum carboxylation capacity (V cmax, 25) provided its mean value is unbiased. The role of local thermal stratification inside the canopy and possible computational simplifications in decoupling scalar transfer from the generation of the flow statistics are also discussed. “The tree, tilting its leaves to capture bullets of light; inhaling, exhaling; its many thousand stomata breathing, creating the air”. Ruth Stone, 2002, In the Next Galaxy"




Juang, Jehn-Yih, Gabriel G. Katul, Mario B. Siqueira, Paul C. Stoy, and Heather R. McCarthy. “Investigating a Hierarchy of Eulerian Closure Models for Scalar Transfer Inside Forested Canopies.” Boundary-Layer Meteorology 128, no. 1 (April 25, 2008): 1–32. doi:10.1007/s10546-008-9273-2.


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