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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-267
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-267
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 12 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 12 Aug 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

A new approach for assessing climate change impacts in ecotron experiments

Inne Vanderkelen1, Jakob Zschleischler2,3, Lukas Gudmundsson4, Klaus Keuler5, Francois Rineau6, Natalie Beenaerts6, Jaco Vangronsveld6,7, and Wim Thiery1,4 Inne Vanderkelen et al.
  • 1Department of Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
  • 2Climate and Environmental Physics, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • 3Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • 4Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 5Department of Environmental Meteorology, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Cottbus, Germany
  • 6Centre for Environmental Sciences, UHasselt, Hasselt, Belgium
  • 7Department of Plant Physiology, Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Lublin, Poland

Abstract. Ecotron facilities allow accurate control of many environmental variables coupled with extensive monitoring of ecosystem processes. They therefore require multivariate perturbation of climate variables, close to what is observed in the field and projections for the future, preserving the co-variances between variables and the projected changes in variability. Here we present a new experimental design for studying climate change impacts on terrestrial ecosystems and apply it to the UHasselt Ecotron Experiment. The new methodology consists of generating climate forcing along a gradient representative of increasingly high global mean temperature anomalies and uses data derived from the best available regional climate model (RCM) projection. We first identified the best performing regional climate model (RCM) simulation for the ecotron site from the Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment in the European Domain (EURO-CORDEX) ensemble with a 0.11° (12.5 km) resolution based on two criteria: (i) highest skill of the simulations compared to observations from a nearby weather station and (ii) representativeness of the multi-model mean in future projections. Our results reveal that no single RCM simulation has the best score for all possible combinations of the four meteorological variables and evaluation metrics considered. Out of the six best performing simulations, we selected the simulation with the lowest bias for precipitation (CCLM4-8-17/EC-EARTH), as this variable is key to ecosystem functioning and model simulations deviated the most for this variable, with values ranging up to double the observed values. The time window is subsequently selected from the RCM projection for each ecotron unit based on the global mean temperature of the driving Global Climate Model (GCM). The ecotron units are forced with 3-hourly output from the RCM projections of the five-year period spanning the year in which the global mean temperature crosses the predefined values. With the new approach, Ecotron facilities become able to assess ecosystem responses on changing climatic conditions, while accounting for the co-variation between climatic variables and their projection in variability, well representing possible compound events. The gradient approach will allow to identify possible threshold and tipping points.

Inne Vanderkelen et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Inne Vanderkelen et al.
Inne Vanderkelen et al.
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