EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Towards realistic plant hydraulics and frost damage in the Arctic-Boreal Zone by modelling cold acclimation in CTSM5-Fates (hydro)

Marius Lambert1, Hui Tang2,3, Kjetil S. Aas2, Frode Stordal2, Rosie A. Fisher4, Jarle W. Bjerke5, and Frans-jan W. Permentier1,6
Marius Lambert et al.
  • 1Centre for Biogeochemistry in the Anthropocene, Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Norway (
  • 2Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Geosciences, Norway
  • 3Geo-Ecology Research Group, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • 4CICERO - Center for International Climate Research, Oslo, Norway
  • 5Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, High North Research Centre for Climate and the Environment, Tromsø, Norway
  • 6Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Vegetation of temperate and boreal ecosystems increases its tolerance to freezing when temperatures decrease in autumn. This process is known as hardening, and results in a set of physiological changes at the molecular level that initiates the synthesis of anti-freeze proteins. Together with the freezing of extracellular water, these changes reduce plant water potentials and xylem conductivity. In this study, we implemented a hardening and frost mortality scheme into CTSM5.0-FATES-Hydro, and evaluate how these modifications impact plant hydraulics and vegetation growth. Our work shows that the hydraulic modifications prescribed by the hardening scheme are necessary to model realistic vegetation growth in cold climates, in contrast to the default model that simulates almost nonexistent and declining vegetation due to abnormally large water loss through the roots. The frost mortality scheme also simulates damage from frost events when temperatures drop below the hardiness level of plants, in contrast to the default model where frost is described by a constant PFT temperature threshold. This work makes it possible to use CTSM5-FATES-Hydro to model realistic impacts from frost and droughts on vegetation growth and photosynthesis, leading to more reliable projections of how northern ecosystems respond to climate change.

How to cite: Lambert, M., Tang, H., Aas, K. S., Stordal, F., Fisher, R. A., Bjerke, J. W., and Permentier, F.-W.: Towards realistic plant hydraulics and frost damage in the Arctic-Boreal Zone by modelling cold acclimation in CTSM5-Fates (hydro), EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-4068,, 2022.

Comments on the display material

to access the discussion