Improving the DNDC biogeochemistry model to simulate soil temperature and emissions of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide in cold regions

Guotao Cui, Junye Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The process-based DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC) model is widely used to quantify greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Soil temperature is an important environmental factor affecting nitrous oxide (N2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, however, it is not well described in the original DNDC model due to seasonal snow cover in cold regions. This study aims to modify the original DNDC model with better representations of rain-snow partitioning, snow cover, and soil freeze-thaw cycle to predict soil temperature and GHG emissions in cold regions. Compared to the snow data in Canada, the modified DNDC model better captures snow accumulation and snowmelt with model efficiency EF of 0.64, increased from 0.14 of the original DNDC model. Soil temperature from the modified DNDC model is in good agreement with the measured data (RMSE 1.91 °C and R2 0.97), particularly when snow cover is present in winter seasons because the modified DNDC model accounts for the snow insulation effect and snowfalls above 0 °C. To further improve the simulations, the modified DNDC model runs in a command-line user interface and uses an inverse approach of optimization with a spin-up period. This modeling setup increases the R2 of CO2 emissions from 0.23 to 0.35 and the R2 of N2O emissions from 0.12 to 0.36. Investigations on different modeling setups suggest that optimization and spin-up could improve modeling results and better capture snow processes and soil temperature dynamics in the snowy cold regions, which could contribute to reasonable subsequent assessments of GHG emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-70
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume687
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct. 2019

Keywords

  • Cold region
  • DNDC model
  • Optimization
  • Rain-snow partitioning
  • Snowmelt
  • Soil temperature

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