EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Plant phenology evaluation of CRESCENDO land surface models

Deborah Hemming1, Daniele Peano2, Stefano Materia2, Taejin Park3,4, David Warlind5, Yuanchao Fan6,7, Hanna Lee6, Andy Wiltshire1, and Chris D Jones1
Deborah Hemming et al.
  • 1Met Office, Climate Science, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (
  • 2Fondazione Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici, Bologna, Italy
  • 3NASA Ames Research Centre, CA, USA
  • 4Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, CA, USA
  • 5Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  • 6NORCE Norwegian Research Centre AS, Bergen, Norway
  • 7Harvard University, Cambridge, USA

A new generation of land surface models (LSMs) have been developed in the framework of the EU-funded CRESCENDO project aiming to improve understanding of the Earth system as part of the community CMIP6 effort. 
These new LSMs explicitly represent key processes in the carbon and nitrogen cycles, enabling more realistic vegetation-climate interactions to be simulated. For instance, vegetation phenology, the seasonality of vegetation, is explicitly represented in all these new LSMs. Intra- and inter-annual variations in vegetation phenology can substantially influence land-atmosphere exchanges of energy, moisture and carbon. Changes in phenological events also provide clear indicators of climate impacts on ecosystems. 
Results are presented on the evaluation of phenological variability from offline runs of this new generation of LSMs. In particular, the timing of growing season onset and offset at global scale, and the Leaf Area Index (LAI) peak timing are investigated using monthly mean outputs. Three satellite-derived LAI datasets are used as benchmark observations for this evaluation.
In general, LSMs exhibit high skill in reproducing the observed phenology cycle in the North hemisphere mid- and high-latitudes, while lower skill is obtained in the South hemisphere. All LSMs simulate an offset in the timing of the active vegetative season characterized by later onset and LAI peak. Offset timings are slightly better captured by the LSMs. For these reasons, further development of the representation of phenology is required in LSMs, especially in the South hemisphere, where more complex vegetation and reduced in-situ observations are available.

How to cite: Hemming, D., Peano, D., Materia, S., Park, T., Warlind, D., Fan, Y., Lee, H., Wiltshire, A., and Jones, C. D.: Plant phenology evaluation of CRESCENDO land surface models, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-20606,, 2020


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