Webinar June 2020 – linking ecologcal data to vegetation models
Title: Challenges in linking ecological data to vegetation models
Speaker: Sonya Rita Geange, UiB
This talk will touch upon two proposed contributions to the EMERALD project. Firstly, a perspectives piece examining how climate modellers and vegetation ecologists feel vegetation data should be utilized to improve climate projections. Previous explorations of these concepts have generally focussed only within one discipline. Therefore, perhaps these prior discussions understate the need for ecologists to be aware of how field collected data may be included in land surface modelling efforts, which parameters are currently included and of issues regarding data availability. Conversely, modellers may have less insights into the difficulties and limitations in scaling up ecological data, or current discussions in ecological fields about updated vegetation patterns and processes. Increased clarity and openness on both perspectives is therefore essential if we’re to develop reliable, and informative modelling platforms.
The second element will be a brief overview of how leaf level thermal tolerance concepts could be a valuable parameter to consider including in our models. Predicted climate change scenarios not only emphasize increase average temperatures, but also changing frequency, intensity and duration of extreme weather events, including heatwaves, as well as a-seasonal freezing risk for vegetation traditionally covered by winter snow packs. Understanding leaf level thermal tolerance may also provide insights into other core components of vegetation models, including photosynthetic performance, and also mortality. Currently, thermal tolerance parameters are not worked into the operating FATES platforms, and thus new insights into how to parameterize these critical processes is essential. The knowledge gained from the initial systematic review will form a strong basis for 1) identifying key thermal tolerance metrics for inclusion as parameters in FATES, 2) further meta-analyses comparing thermal tolerance profiles of biomes, and linking these to plant functional trait expressions and species distributions.