Climate Research Division

Toronto, Canada

Climate Research Division

Toronto, Canada
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Schwalm C.R.,Clark University | Williams C.A.,Clark University | Schaefer K.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Anderson R.,University of Montana | And 43 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences | Year: 2010

Our current understanding of terrestrial carbon processes is represented in various models used to integrate and scale measurements of CO2 exchange from remote sensing and other spatiotemporal data. Yet assessments are rarely conducted to determine how well models simulate carbon processes across vegetation types and environmental conditions. Using standardized data from the North American Carbon Program we compare observed and simulated monthly CO 2 exchange from 44 eddy covariance flux towers in North America and 22 terrestrial biosphere models. The analysis period spans ∼220 site-years, 10 biomes, and includes two large-scale drought events, providing a natural experiment to evaluate model skill as a function of drought and seasonality. We evaluate models' ability to simulate the seasonal cycle of CO2 exchange using multiple model skill metrics and analyze links between model characteristics, site history, and model skill. Overall model performance was poor; the difference between observations and simulations was ∼10 times observational uncertainty, with forested ecosystems better predicted than nonforested. Model-data agreement was highest in summer and in temperate evergreen forests. In contrast, model performance declined in spring and fall, especially in ecosystems with large deciduous components, and in dry periods during the growing season. Models used across multiple biomes and sites, the mean model ensemble, and a model using assimilated parameter values showed high consistency with observations. Models with the highest skill across all biomes all used prescribed canopy phenology, calculated NEE as the difference between GPP and ecosystem respiration, and did not use a daily time step. Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.


Irei S.,York University | Irei S.,University of Ryukyus | Rudolph J.,York University | Huang L.,Climate Research Division | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Physical Chemistry A | Year: 2015

In this study, we examined compound-specific stable carbon isotope ratios for phenolic compounds in secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formed by photooxidation of isotope-label-free toluene. SOA generated by photooxidation of toluene using a continuous-flow reactor and an 8 m3 indoor smog chamber was collected on filters, which were extracted with acetonitrile for compound-specific analysis. Eight phenolic compounds were identified in the extracts using a gas chromatograph coupled with a mass spectrometer, and their compound-specific stable carbon isotope ratios were determined using a gas chromatograph coupled with a combustion furnace followed by an isotope ratio mass spectrometer. The majority of products, including methylnitrophenols and methylnitrocatechols, were isotopically depleted by 5-6° compared to the initial isotope ratio of toluene, whereas the isotope ratio for 4-nitrophenol remained identical to that of toluene. On the basis of the reaction mechanisms proposed in previous reports, stable carbon isotope ratios of these products were calculated. By comparing the observed isotope ratios with the predicted isotope ratios, we explored possible production pathways for the particulate phenolic compounds. (Chemical Presented). © 2014 American Chemical Society.


Keenan T.F.,Harvard University | Baker I.,Colorado State University | Barr A.,Climate Research Division | Ciais P.,French Climate and Environment Sciences Laboratory | And 16 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2012

Interannual variability in biosphere-atmosphere exchange of CO 2 is driven by a diverse range of biotic and abiotic factors. Replicating this variability thus represents the 'acid test' for terrestrial biosphere models. Although such models are commonly used to project responses to both normal and anomalous variability in climate, they are rarely tested explicitly against inter-annual variability in observations. Herein, using standardized data from the North American Carbon Program, we assess the performance of 16 terrestrial biosphere models and 3 remote sensing products against long-term measurements of biosphere-atmosphere CO 2 exchange made with eddy-covariance flux towers at 11 forested sites in North America. Instead of focusing on model-data agreement we take a systematic, variability-oriented approach and show that although the models tend to reproduce the mean magnitude of the observed annual flux variability, they fail to reproduce the timing. Large biases in modeled annual means are evident for all models. Observed interannual variability is found to commonly be on the order of magnitude of the mean fluxes. None of the models consistently reproduce observed interannual variability within measurement uncertainty. Underrepresentation of variability in spring phenology, soil thaw and snowpack melting, and difficulties in reproducing the lagged response to extreme climatic events are identified as systematic errors, common to all models included in this study. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Kim Y.,University of Montana | Kimball J.S.,University of Montana | Robinson D.A.,Rutgers University | Derksen C.,Climate Research Division
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2015

We examined new satellite climate data records documenting frozen (FR) season and snow cover extent (SCE) changes from 1979 to 2011 over all northern vegetated land areas (≥45 °N). New insight on the spatial and temporal characteristics of seasonal FR ground and snowpack melt changes were revealed by integrating the independent FR and SCE data records. Similar decreasing trends in annual FR and SCE durations coincided with widespread warming (0.4 °C decade-1). Relatively strong declines in FR and SCE durations in spring and summer are partially offset by increasing trends in fall and winter. These contrasting seasonal trends result in relatively weak decreasing trends in annual FR and SCE durations. A dominant SCE retreat response to FR duration decreases was observed, while the sign and strength of this relationship was spatially complex, varying by latitude and regional snow cover, and climate characteristics. The spatial extent of FR conditions exceeds SCE in early spring and is smaller during snowmelt in late spring and early summer, while FR ground in the absence of snow cover is widespread in the fall. The integrated satellite record, for the first time, reveals a general increasing trend in annual snowmelt duration from 1.3 to 3.3 days decade-1 (p < 0.01), occurring largely in the fall. Annual FR ground durations are declining from 0.8 to 1.3 days decade-1. These changes imply extensive biophysical impacts to regional snow cover, soil and permafrost regimes, surface water and energy budgets, and climate feedbacks, while ongoing satellite microwave missions provide an effective means for regional monitoring. © 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd.


Dietze M.C.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | Vargas R.,Research Center Cientifica Educacion Superior Of Ensenada | Richardson A.D.,Harvard University | Stoy P.C.,Montana State University | And 34 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences | Year: 2011

Ecosystem models are important tools for diagnosing the carbon cycle and projecting its behavior across space and time. Despite the fact that ecosystems respond to drivers at multiple time scales, most assessments of model performance do not discriminate different time scales. Spectral methods, such as wavelet analyses, present an alternative approach that enables the identification of the dominant time scales contributing to model performance in the frequency domain. In this study we used wavelet analyses to synthesize the performance of 21 ecosystem models at 9 eddy covariance towers as part of the North American Carbon Program's site-level intercomparison. This study expands upon previous single-site and single-model analyses to determine what patterns of model error are consistent across a diverse range of models and sites. To assess the significance of model error at different time scales, a novel Monte Carlo approach was developed to incorporate flux observation error. Failing to account for observation error leads to a misidentification of the time scales that dominate model error. These analyses show that model error (1) is largest at the annual and 20-120 day scales, (2) has a clear peak at the diurnal scale, and (3) shows large variability among models in the 2-20 day scales. Errors at the annual scale were consistent across time, diurnal errors were predominantly during the growing season, and intermediate-scale errors were largely event driven. Breaking spectra into discrete temporal bands revealed a significant model-by-band effect but also a nonsignificant model-by-site effect, which together suggest that individual models show consistency in their error patterns. Differences among models were related to model time step, soil hydrology, and the representation of photosynthesis and phenology but not the soil carbon or nitrogen cycles. These factors had the greatest impact on diurnal errors, were less important at annual scales, and had the least impact at intermediate time scales. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.


Choi D.H.,Marine Biotechnology Research Division | Noh J.H.,Marine Ecosystem Research Division | Ahn S.M.,Marine Ecosystem Research Division | Lee C.M.,Ocean Policy Institute | And 4 more authors.
Ocean and Polar Research | Year: 2013

In order to understand phytoplankton and bacterial distribution in tropical coral reef ecosystems in relation to the mangrove community, their biomass and activities were measured in the sea waters of the Chuuk and the Kosrae lagoons located in Micronesia. Chlorophyll a and bacterial abundance showed maximal values in the seawater near the mangrove forests, and then steeply decreased as the distance increased from the mangrove forests, indicating that environmental conditions for these microorganisms changed greatly in lagoon waters. Together with chlorophyll a, abundance of Synechococcus and phototrophic picoeukaryotes and a variety of indicator pigments for dinoflagellates, diatoms, green algae and cryptophytes also showed similar spatial distribution patterns, suggesting that phytoplankton assemblages respond to the environmental gradient by changing community compositions. In addition, primary production and bacterial production were also highest in the bay surrounded by mangrove forest and lowest outside of the lagoon. These results suggest that mangrove waters play an important role in energy production and nutrient cycling in tropical coasts, undoubtedly receiving large inputs of organic matter from shore vegetation such as mangroves. However, the steep decrease of biomass and production of phytoplankton and heterotrophic bacteria within a short distance from the bay to the level of oligotrophic waters indicates that the effect of mangrove waters does not extend far away.


Tivy A.,University of Calgary | Tivy A.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | Howell S.E.L.,Climate Research Division | Alt B.,Balanced Environmental Associates | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans | Year: 2011

The Canadian Ice Service Digital Archive (CISDA) is a compilation of weekly ice charts covering Canadian waters from the early 1960s to present. The main sources of uncertainty in the database are reviewed and the data are validated for use in climate studies before trends and variability in summer averaged sea ice cover are investigated. These data revealed that between 1968 and 2008, summer sea ice cover has decreased by 11.3% ± 2.6% decade-1 in Hudson Bay, 2.9% ± 1.2% decade-1 in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA), 8.9% ± 3.1% decade-1 in Baffin Bay, and 5.2% ± 2.4% decade-1 in the Beaufort Sea with no significant reductions in multiyear ice. Reductions in sea ice cover are linked to increases in early summer surface air temperature (SAT); significant increases in SAT were observed in every season and they are consistently greater than the pan-Arctic change by up to ∼0.2C decade-1. Within the CAA and Baffin Bay, the El Nio-Southern Oscillation index correlates well with multiyear ice coverage (positive) and first-year ice coverage (negative) suggesting that El Nio episodes precede summers with more multiyear ice and less first-year ice. Extending the trend calculations back to 1960 along the major shipping routes revealed significant decreases in summer sea ice coverage ranging between 11% and 15% decade-1 along the route through Hudson Bay and 6% and 10% decade-1 along the southern route of the Northwest Passage, the latter is linked to increases in SAT. Between 1960 and 2008, no significant trends were found along the northern western Parry Channel route of the Northwest Passage. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.


Zhao R.,University of Toronto | Lee A.K.Y.,University of Toronto | Huang L.,Climate Research Division | Li X.,Beihang University | And 2 more authors.
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics | Year: 2015

Atmospheric brown carbon (BrC) is a collective term for light absorbing organic compounds in the atmosphere. While the identification of BrC and its formation mechanisms is currently a central effort in the community, little is known about the atmospheric removal processes of aerosol BrC. As a result, we report on a series of laboratory studies of photochemical processing of BrC in the aqueous phase, by direct photolysis and OH oxidation. Solutions of ammonium sulfate mixed with glyoxal (GLYAS) or methylglyoxal (MGAS) are used as surrogates for a class of secondary BrC mediated by imine intermediates. Three nitrophenol species, namely 4-nitrophenol, 5-nitroguaiacol and 4-nitrocatechol, were investigated as a class of water-soluble BrC originating from biomass burning. Photochemical processing induced significant changes in the absorptive properties of BrC. The imine-mediated BrC solutions exhibited rapid photo-bleaching with both direct photolysis and OH oxidation, with atmospheric half-lives of minutes to a few hours. The nitrophenol species exhibited photo-enhancement in the visible range during direct photolysis and the onset of OH oxidation, but rapid photo-bleaching was induced by further OH exposure on an atmospheric timescale of an hour or less. To illustrate the atmospheric relevance of this work, we also performed direct photolysis experiments on water-soluble organic carbon extracted from biofuel combustion samples and observed rapid changes in the optical properties of these samples as well. Overall, these experiments indicate that atmospheric models need to incorporate representations of atmospheric processing of BrC species to accurately model their radiative impacts. © Author(s) 2015.


Kang D.,Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology | Lee M.-I.,Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology | Im J.,Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology | Kim D.,University of Washington | And 5 more authors.
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2014

This study assesses the skill of boreal winter Arctic Oscillation (AO) predictions with state-of-the-art dynamical ensemble prediction systems (EPSs): GloSea4, CFSv2, GEOS-5, CanCM3, CanCM4, and CM2.1. Long-term reforecasts with the EPSs are used to evaluate how well they represent the AO and to assess the skill of both deterministic and probabilistic forecasts of the AO. The reforecasts reproduce the observed changes in the large-scale patterns of the Northern Hemispheric surface temperature, upper level wind, and precipitation associated with the different phases of the AO. The results demonstrate that most EPSs improve upon persistence skill scores for lead times up to 2months in boreal winter, suggesting some potential for skillful prediction of the AO and its associated climate anomalies at seasonal time scales. It is also found that the skill of AO forecasts during the recent period (1997-2010) is higher than that of the earlier period (1983-1996).© 2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


Huang L.,Climate Research Division | Chivulescu A.,Climate Research Division | Ernst D.,Climate Research Division | Zhang W.,Climate Research Division | And 3 more authors.
Atmospheric Measurement Techniques | Year: 2013

Maintaining consistent traceability of high-precision measurements of CO2 isotopes is critical in order to obtain accurate atmospheric trends of δ13°C and δ18O (in CO2). Although a number of laboratories/organizations around the world have been conducting baseline measurements of atmospheric CO2 isotopes for several decades, reports on the traceability and maintenance are rare. In this paper, a principle and an approach for maintaining consistent traceability in high-precision isotope measurements (δ13°C and δ18O) of atmospheric CO2 are described. The concept of Big Δ is introduced and its role in maintaining traceability of the isotope measurements is described and discussed extensively. The uncertainties of the traceability have been estimated based on annual calibration records over the last 10 yr. The overall uncertainties of CO 2 isotope measurements for individual ambient samples analyzed by the program at Environment Canada have been estimated (excluding these associated with the sampling). The values are 0.02 and 0.05 in δ13°C and δ18O, respectively, which are close to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) targets for data compatibility. The annual rates of change in δ13°C and δ18O of the primary anchor (which links the flask measurements back to the VPDB-CO2 scale) are close to zero (-0.0016 ± 0.0012, and-0.006 ± 0.003 per year, respectively) over a period of 10 yr (2001-2011). The average annual changes of δ13°C and δ18O in air CO2 at Alert GAW station over the period from 1999 to 2010 have been evaluated and confirmed; they are-0.025 ± 0.003 and 0.000 ± 0.010, respectively. The results are consistent with a continuous contribution of fossil fuel CO2 to the atmosphere, having a trend toward more negative in δ13°C, whereas the lack of change in δ18O likely reflects the influence from the global hydrologic cycle. The total change of δ13°C and δ18O during this period is ∼0.27 and ∼0.00, respectively. Finally, the challenges and recommendations as strategies to maintain a consistent traceability are described. © 2012 Author(s).

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