Terrestrial Ecosystem Model Workshop

17-21 June 2013, University of Alaska Fairbanks

A workshop to discuss the future research and development of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM) was held in Fairbanks, AK, in June 2013.


Policy decisions regarding climate change mitigation and adaptation depend on reliable projections of future climate change, which poses a grand challenge for climate scientists: the stakes are high but confidence in the level of knowledge in some areas is critically low. Efforts to reduce uncertainty in global climate projections highlight an urgent need to improve our understanding of the key processes underlying ecosystem-climate feedbacks. The Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM) is a leading example of an ecological assessment tool and associated research and development (R&D) program with a three- decade history of application for testing hypotheses, reducing uncertainty and generally improving our understanding of key driving mechanisms and underlying processes of ecological-social-climate interactions at landscape to global scales. Building on its history as one of the original global ecosystem models, the TEM has recently undergone significant R&D to address the most critical areas of scientific uncertainty in the climate change problem.

Historically, like many modeling programs the modus operandi for TEM R&D has been incremental development accomplished by piecing together various grants and short-term projects by individual investigators. This process can be sustainable but only if these individual investigators can meet periodically (~ every 2 to 3 years) for a dedicated coordination session where the focus is on connecting these individual developmental pieces in order to move forward in a unified manner. Moving forward, it is critical to have closer collaboration between these individual R&D efforts within a larger, fully coordinated framework designed to advance the state-of-the-science in ecosystem-climate modelling.


Here we propose to hold a focused, results-oriented workshop including a small group of key participants to facilitate coordination and advancement of targeted R&D issues related to the TEM. The core of the workshop will be focused on the discussion of near- and longer- term plans for advancing TEM R&D as a unified effort going forward.

Expected Outcomes

Specifically, the workshop discussions will lead to development of a consensus-supported, formalized Plan to guide TEM R&D over the next three-to-five years. The Plan will consist of several components, including:

Assignment of small sub-teams of individuals with common interests and research objectives that will work in close coordination over the near-term to address several of the most critical R&D needs.
A targeted set of objectives and coordinated strategy for new project development.
Identification of opportunities for collaboration with other relevant efforts outside of TEM.
Tentative Agenda

NOTE: This is a draft of the agenda. Check back later for updates.

Monday, 17 June

9:00a – 9:15 Welcome, Agenda and Objectives (Hayes)
9:15 – 9:45 Introductions (All)
Recent Progress and Current Work in TEM Development
9:45 – 10:15 TEM: An Illustrated History (McGuire)
10:15 – 10:45 TEM soil thermal dynamics and methane modeling (Zhuang)
10:45 – 11:00 BREAK
11:00 – 11:30 TEM carbon-nitrogen dynamics, ozone and land use (Felzer)
11:30 – Noon TEM dynamic cohorts, open nitrogen cycle, active layer dynamics & DOC (Kicklighter)
Noon – 1:00p LUNCH
Recent Progress and Current Work in TEM Development (continued)
1:00 – 1:30 DVM-TEM development and applications (Euskirchen)
1:30 – 2:00 DOS-TEM development and applications (Yuan)
2:00 – 2:30 Peatland, soil carbon and methane fluxes (Fan)
2:30 – 3:00 Alaska Integrated Ecosystem Modeling (Genet)
3:00 – 3:15 BREAK
3:15 – 5:00 [Discussion] Progress & Gaps in TEM Development To-date (All)

Tuesday, 18 June

Recent / Current Work in Global TEM Applications
9:00a – 9:30 Global application: results, intercomparisons and benchmarking (Hayes)
9:30 – 10:00 Integrated Earth System Modeling (Kicklighter, Felzer)
Recent / Current Work in Regional TEM Applications
10:00 – 10:30 Alaska Integrated Ecosystem Modeling (Zhang)
10:30 – 10:45 BREAK
10:45 – 11:15 Vegetation Dynamics in the YRB (Patil)
11:15 – 11:45 TEM Documentation (Jin)
11:45 – 12:15p NGEE modeling & scaling (Lara)
12:15 – 1:30 LUNCH
Disturbance data and model applications
1:30 – 2:00 Mapping fire severity (Barrett)
2:00 – 2:30 Fire severity and C impacts (Kasischke)
2:30 – 3:00 "ThawTrendr" (Goswami)
3:00 – 3:30 Modeling C Impacts of multiple disturbances (Chen)
3:30 – 3:45 BREAK
3:45 – 5:00 [Discussion] Progress & Gaps in TEM Applications To-date (All)

Wednesday, 19 June

Development Coordination and Planning
9:00a – 10:30 [Discussion] Current and planned collaborative projects and proposals (All)
10:30 – 10:45 BREAK
10:45 – 12:15p [Discussion] Coordinating development efforts and joining model versions (All)
12:15 – 1:00 LUNCH
1:00 – 5:00 [Field Trip] APEX experimental site visit, measurements & modeling discussion (All)

Thursday, 20 June

Development Coordination and Planning, continued
9:00a – 10:30 [Discussion] Coordinating development efforts, continued (All)
10:30 – 10:45 BREAK
10:45 – 12:15p [Discussion] Model operability: I/O, calibration, parallelization, etc. (All)
12:15 – 1:30 LUNCH
1:30 – 3:15 [Discussion] Model operability: Diagnostics and visualization tools (All)
3:15 – 3:30 BREAK
3:30 – 5:00 [Discussion] Joining model versions: task list, strategy, plans and division of labor (All)

Friday, 21 June

Working group activities
9:00a – 10:30 [Working group] Model operability: I/O, calibration, parallelization
[Working group] Operability: diagnostics & visualization
10:30 – 10:45 BREAK
10:45 – 12:15p [Working group] DOS-DVM
[Working group] Resolving C pools and time steps
12:15 – 1:30 LUNCH
1:30 – 3:30 [Working group] DOS-DVM and CH4
[Working group] Dynamic cohorts
3:30 – 3:45 BREAK
3:45 – 4:30 [Discussion] Working group reports (All)
4:30 – 5:00 [Discussion] Wrap-up: progress, needs and path forward (All)

Last modified 21 June 2013


Kirsten Barrett US Geological Survey, Anchorage, AK
Guangsheng Chen Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN
Eugenie Euskirchen University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
Zhaosheng Fan Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago, IL
Ben Felzer Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
Helene Genet University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
Santonu Goswami Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN
Dan Hayes Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN
Zhenong Jin Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Eric Kasischke University of Maryland, College Park, AK
Dave Kicklighter Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA
Mark Lara University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
Dave McGuire University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
Vijay Patil University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
Colin Tucker University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
Fengming Yuan Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN
Yujin Zhang University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
Qianlai Zhuang Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Results of the Workshop

Coming soon....

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