Earth Institute Research Projects

Collaborative Research and NEON: MSB Category 2: PaIEON - a Paleo Ecological Observatory Network to Assess Terrestrial Ecosystem Models

Lead PI: Neil Pederson

Unit Affiliation: Biology and Paleo Environment, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

September 2013 - May 2015
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: Because of the slow pace of terrestrial ecosystem processes, including the slow generation time, growth rate, and decomposition rate of trees, the impact of changing climate and disturbance on forests plays out over hundreds of years. For this reason, terrestrial ecosystem models are used to anticipate the centennial scale projections of forest response to environmental change. Current terrestrial ecosystem model predictions vary widely and results have large statistical uncertainties. Furthermore, testing and calibration of these models relies on short term (sub-daily to decadal) data that fail to capture longer term trends and infrequent extreme events. The capacity of ecosystem models for scientific inference and long-term prediction would be greatly improved if uncertainties can be reduced through rigorous testing against observational data. PalEON is an interdisciplinary team of paleoecologists, statisticians, and modelers that have partnered to rigorously synthesize longer term paleoecological data and incorporate into ecosystem models to provide a deeper understanding of past dynamics and to use this knowledge to improve long-term forecasting capabilities.

OUTCOMES: Krusic, P. E. Cook D. Dukpa A. Putnam S. Rupper J. Schaefer. "638 years of summer temperature variability over the Bhutanese Himalaya," Geophysical Research Letters, 2015. doi:10.1002/2015GL063566