A critical overview of model estimates of net primary productivity for the Australian continent

Roxburgh, Stephen H., Barrett, Damian J., Berry, Sandra L., Carter, John O., Davies, Ian D., Gifford, Roger M., Kirschbaum, Miko U. F., McBeth, Bevan P., Noble, Ian R., Parton, William G., Raupach, Michael R. and Roderick, Micahel L. (2004) A critical overview of model estimates of net primary productivity for the Australian continent. Functional Plant Biology, 31 11: 1043-1059. doi:10.1071/FP04100

Author Roxburgh, Stephen H.
Barrett, Damian J.
Berry, Sandra L.
Carter, John O.
Davies, Ian D.
Gifford, Roger M.
Kirschbaum, Miko U. F.
McBeth, Bevan P.
Noble, Ian R.
Parton, William G.
Raupach, Michael R.
Roderick, Micahel L.
Title A critical overview of model estimates of net primary productivity for the Australian continent
Journal name Functional Plant Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1445-4408
Publication date 2004-11-18
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/FP04100
Volume 31
Issue 11
Start page 1043
End page 1059
Total pages 27
Place of publication Melbourne
Publisher CSIRO
Language eng
Subject 0607 Plant Biology
Formatted abstract
Net primary production links the biosphere and the climate system through the global cycling of carbon, water and nutrients. Accurate quantification of net primary productivity (NPP) is therefore critical in understanding the response of the world’s ecosystems to global climate change, and how changes in ecosystems might themselves feed back to the climate system.

Twelve model estimates of long-term annual NPP for the Australian continent were reviewed. These models varied considerably in the approaches adopted and the inputs required. The model estimates ranged 5-fold, from 0.67 to 3.31 Gt C y–1. Within-continent variation was similarly large, with most of the discrepancies occurring in the arid zone of Australia, which comprises most of the continent. It is also within this zone that empirical NPP data are most lacking. Comparison with a recent global-scale analysis of six dynamic global vegetation models showed a similar level of variability in continental total NPP, 0.38 to 2.85 Gt C y–1, and similar within-continent spatial variability. As a first tentative step towards model validation the twelve NPP estimates were compared with existing field measurements, although the ability to reach definitive conclusions was limited by insufficient data, and incompatibilities between the field-based observations and the model predictions. It was concluded that the current NPP-modelling capability falls short of the accuracy required for effective application in understanding the terrestrial biospheric implications of global atmospheric / climatic change.

Potential methods that could be used in future work for improving modelled estimates of Australian continental NPP and their validation are discussed. These include increasing the spatial coverage of empirical NPP estimates within arid ecosystems, the use of existing high quality site data for more detailed model exploration, and a formal model inter-comparison using uniform driver datasets to investigate more intensively differences in model behaviour and assumptions.
Keyword continental
model comparison
rainfall-use efficiency
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
Sustainable Minerals Institute Publications
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Created: Thu, 12 Nov 2009, 12:39:25 EST by Thelma Whitbourne on behalf of Sustainable Minerals Institute