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Ecosystems

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 410–425 | Cite as

Converging Climate Sensitivities of European Forests Between Observed Radial Tree Growth and Vegetation Models

  • Zhen Zhang
  • Flurin Babst
  • Valentin Bellassen
  • David Frank
  • Thomas Launois
  • Kun Tan
  • Philippe Ciais
  • Benjamin Poulter
Article

Abstract

The impacts of climate variability and trends on European forests are unevenly distributed across different bioclimatic zones and species. Extreme climate events are also becoming more frequent and it is unknown how they will affect feedbacks of CO2 between forest ecosystems and the atmosphere. An improved understanding of species differences at the regional scale of the response of forest productivity to climate variation and extremes is thus important for forecasting forest dynamics. In this study, we evaluate the climate sensitivity of aboveground net primary production (NPP) simulated by two dynamic global vegetation models (DGVM; ORCHIDEE and LPJ-wsl) against tree ring width (TRW) observations from about 1000 sites distributed across Europe. In both the model simulations and the TRW observations, forests in northern Europe and the Alps respond positively to warmer spring and summer temperature, and their overall temperature sensitivity is larger than that of the soil-moisture-limited forests in central Europe and Mediterranean regions. Compared with TRW observations, simulated NPP from ORCHIDEE and LPJ-wsl appear to be overly-sensitive to climatic factors. Our results indicate that the models lack biological processes that control time lags, such as carbohydrate storage and remobilization, that delay the effects of radial growth dynamics to climate. Our study highlights the need for re-evaluating the physiological controls on the climate sensitivity of NPP simulated by DGVMs. In particular, DGVMs could be further enhanced by a more detailed representation of carbon reserves and allocation that control year-to-year variation in plant growth.

Keywords:

DGVM climate response tree ring width forest growth ORCHIDEE LPJ NPP carbon cycle 

Notes

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This work was funded by the European Commission FP7 Project CARBO-Extreme (FP7-ENV-2008-1-226701). ZZ acknowledges funding by the CCES MAIOLICA project #42-01 and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Y411391001). FB acknowledges funding from the EU Horizon-2020 project “BACI” (Grant 640176) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant P300P2_154543). We thank all tree-ring data collectors for sharing their data on the International Tree-Ring Data Bank.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhen Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Flurin Babst
    • 1
    • 4
  • Valentin Bellassen
    • 5
  • David Frank
    • 6
  • Thomas Launois
    • 7
  • Kun Tan
    • 7
  • Philippe Ciais
    • 7
  • Benjamin Poulter
    • 2
    • 8
  1. 1.Swiss Federal Research Institute WSLBirmensdorfSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute on Ecosystems and Department of EcologyMontana State UniversityBozemanUSA
  3. 3.Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and ResourcesChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina
  4. 4.W. Szafer Institute of BotanyPolish Academy of SciencesKarkowPoland
  5. 5.INRA, UMR1041 CESAERUniversité Bourgogne Franche-ComtéDijonFrance
  6. 6.Laboratory of Tree-Ring ResearchUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  7. 7.Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’EnvironnementGif-Sur-YvetteFrance
  8. 8.Biospheric Science LaboratoryNASA Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA

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