,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 24 Apr 2014

BioEarth: Envisioning and developing a new regional earth system model to inform natural and agricultural resource management

Abstract

As managers of agricultural and natural resources are confronted with uncertainties in global change impacts, the complexities associated with the interconnected cycling of nitrogen, carbon, and water present daunting management challenges. Existing models provide detailed information on specific sub-systems (e.g., land, air, water, and economics). An increasing awareness of the unintended consequences of management decisions resulting from interconnectedness of these sub-systems, however, necessitates coupled regional earth system models (EaSMs). Decision makers’ needs and priorities can be integrated into the model design and development processes to enhance decision-making relevance and “usability” of EaSMs. BioEarth is a research initiative currently under development with a focus on the U.S. Pacific Northwest region that explores the coupling of multiple stand-alone EaSMs to generate usable information for resource decision-making. Direct engagement between model developers and non-academic stakeholders involved in resource and environmental management decisions throughout the model development process is a critical component of this effort. BioEarth utilizes a bottom-up approach for its land surface model that preserves fine spatial-scale sensitivities and lateral hydrologic connectivity, which makes it unique among many regional EaSMs. This paper describes the BioEarth initiative and highlights opportunities and challenges associated with coupling multiple stand-alone models to generate usable information for agricultural and natural resource decision-making.

This article is part of a Special Issue on “Regional Earth System Modeling” edited by Zong-Liang Yang and Congbin Fu.