Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Modeling feedbacks between a boreal forest and the planetary boundary layer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Open Access permissions



T. C. Hill, M. Williams, J. B. Moncrieff


The atmosphere and biosphere interact strongly in the planetary boundary layer. Understanding the mechanisms controlling the coupled atmosphere-biosphere system allows improved scaling between observations at the stand scale ( e. g., flux towers) and those at larger scales, e. g., airborne or satellite measurements. Simulation of the joint atmosphere-biosphere system permits the study of feedbacks occurring within the coupled system. In this paper, two well-tested models, one a process-based biosphere model ( SPA) and the other a planetary boundary layer model ( CAPS), were coupled to allow simulation of atmosphere-biosphere feedbacks and interactions with a focus on ecological controls. As part of the validation process, the biosphere model was tested using eddy covariance, surface meteorology, and soil data collected during a 120 day period at a boreal black spruce site during the 1994 BOREAS field campaign. The coupled atmosphere-biosphere model was also validated with radiosonde data above the black spruce site, demonstrating that atmosphere and biosphere models can be coherently combined. We show that negative feedbacks at the black spruce site have strong moderating effects. The feedbacks reduce the mean impact of LAI changes on the atmospheric surface layer by 21% for latent energy, 64% for air temperature, and 44% for water mixing ratio. We show that both radiative and hydraulic limitations imposed by the vegetation structure strongly affected the interactions within the atmosphere-biosphere system, while the impact of the canopy roughness length was weak.



Original languageEnglish
Article numberD15122
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2008

    Research areas

  • Surface parameterization schemes, Land-surface, Black spruce, Stomatal conductance, Hydraulic-properties, Flux measurements, Eddy covariance, Climate-change, Water-balance, Canopy

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by journal

  1. Journal of Geophysical Research (Journal)

    Duncan Hendry Mackay (Member of editorial board)
    Mar 2010Mar 2014

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Uncertainties in the shock devolatilization of hydrated minerals: A nontronite case study

    Kraus, R., Strewart, S., Newman, M., Milliken, R. & Tosca, N., 2013, In : Journal of Geophysical Research. 118, 10, p. 2137-2145

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. A data assimilation method for using low-resolution Earth observation data in heterogeneous ecosystems

    Hill, T. C., Quaife, T. & Williams, M., 29 Apr 2011, In : Journal of Geophysical Research. 116, 12 p., D08117.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Carbon dioxide exchange of a pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium L.) infestation: How do flowering and mowing affect canopy photosynthesis and autotrophic respiration?

    Sonnentag, O., Detto, M., Runkle, B. R. K., Teh, Y. A., Silver, W. L., Kelly, M. & Baldocchi, D. D., 25 Feb 2011, In : Journal of Geophysical Research. 116, p. - 15 p., G01021.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Physicochemical properties of concentrated Martian surface waters

    Tosca, N. J., McLennan, S. M., Lamb, M. P. & Grotzinger, J. P., 17 May 2011, In : Journal of Geophysical Research. 116, p. - 16 p., E05004.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. A nonpotential model for the Sun's open magnetic flux

    Yeates, A. R., Mackay, D. H., van Ballegooijen, A. & Constable, J., 29 Sep 2010, In : Journal of Geophysical Research. 115, A9, 11 p., A09112.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 17178847