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Journal of Climate

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Remote sensing can provide long-term and large-scale products helpful for ecosystem model evaluation. The authors compare monthly gross primary production (GPP) simulated by the Community Land Model, version 4 (CLM4) at a half-degree resolution with satellite estimates of GPP from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) GPP product (MOD17) for the 10-yr period January 2000–December 2009. The assessment is presented in terms of long-term mean carbon assimilation, seasonal mean distributions, amplitude and phase of the annual cycle, and intraannual and interannual GPP variability and their responses to climate variables. For the long-term annual and seasonal means, major GPP patterns are clearly demonstrated by both products. Compared to the MODIS product, CLM4 overestimates the magnitude of GPP for tropical evergreen forests. CLM4 has a longer carbon uptake period than MODIS for most plant functional types (PFTs) with an earlier onset of GPP in spring and a later decline of GPP in autumn. Empirical orthogonal function analysis of the monthly GPP changes indicates that, on the intraannual scale, both CLM4 and MODIS display similar spatial representations and temporal patterns for most terrestrial ecosystems except in northeast Russia and in the very dry region of central Australia. For 2000–09, CLM4 simulated increases in annual averaged GPP over both hemispheres; however, estimates from MODIS suggest a reduction in the Southern Hemisphere (−0.2173 PgC yr−1), balancing the significant increase over the Northern Hemisphere (0.2157 PgC yr−1). The evaluations highlight strengths and weaknesses of the CLM4 primary production and illuminate potential improvements and developments.



© 2012 American Meteorological Society