Overall, the ORCHIDEE model is able to achieve a consistent fit to all three data streams, which suggests that current LSMs have reached the level of development to assimilate these observations. The assimilation of MODIS-NDVI (step 1) reduced the growing season length in ORCHIDEE for temperate and boreal ecosystems, thus decreasing the global mean annual gross primary production (GPP). Using FLUXNET data (step 2) led to large improvements in the seasonal cycle of the NEE and LE fluxes for all ecosystems (i.e., increased amplitude for temperate ecosystems). The assimilation of atmospheric CO2, using the general circulation model (GCM) of the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMDz; step 3), provides an overall constraint (i.e., constraint on large-scale net CO2 fluxes), resulting in an improvement of the fit to the observed atmospheric CO2 growth rate. Thus, the optimized model predicts a land C (carbon) sink of around 2.2 PgC yr−1 (for the 2000–2009 period), which is more compatible with current estimates from the Global Carbon Project (GCP) than the prior value. The consistency of the stepwise approach is evaluated with back-compatibility checks. The final optimized model (after step 3) does not significantly degrade the fit to MODIS-NDVI and FLUXNET data that were assimilated in the first two steps, suggesting that a stepwise approach can be used instead of the more “challenging” implementation of a simultaneous optimization in which all data streams are assimilated together. Most parameters, including the scalar of the initial soil carbon pool size, changed during the optimization with a large error reduction. This work opens new perspectives for better predictions of the land carbon budgets.
Bibliographical noteAcknowledgements. This work was mainly funded by the EU FP7 CARBONES project (contracts FP7-SPACE-2009-1-242316), with also a small contribution from GEOCARBON project (ENV.2011.4.1.1-1-283080). This work used eddy covariance data acquired by the FLUXNET community and in particular by the following networks: AmeriFlux (U.S. Department of Energy, Biological and Environmental Research, Terrestrial Carbon Program; DE-FG02-04ER63917 and DE-FG02-04ER63911), AfriFlux, AsiaFlux, CarboAfrica, CarboEuropeIP, CarboItaly, CarboMont, ChinaFlux, Fluxnet-Canada (supported by CFCAS, NSERC, BIOCAP, Environment Canada, and NRCan), GreenGrass, KoFlux, LBA, NECC, OzFlux, TCOS-Siberia, USCCC. We acknowledge the financial support to the eddy covariance data harmonization provided by CarboEuropeIP, FAO-GTOS-TCO,
iLEAPS, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, National Science Foundation, University of Tuscia, Université Laval and Environment Canada and US Department of Energy and the database development and technical support from Berkeley Water Center, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Microsoft Research eScience, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of California-Berkeley, University of Virginia. Philippe Ciais acknowledges support from the European Research Council through Synergy grant ERC-2013-SyG-610028 “IMBALANCE-P”. The authors wish to thank M. Jung for providing access to the GPP MTE data, which were downloaded from the GEOCARBON data portal (https://www.bgc-jena.mpg.de/geodb/projects/Data.php). The authors are also grateful to computing support and resources provided at LSCE and to the overall ORCHIDEE project that coordinate the development of the code (http://labex.ipsl.fr/orchidee/index.php/about-the-team).