A new scheme for initializing process-based ecosystem models by scaling soil carbon pools

S. Hashimoto, M. Wattenbach, P. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Process-based ecosystem models are useful tools, not only for understanding the forest carbon cycle, but also for predicting future change. In order to apply a model to simulate a specific time period, model initialization is required. In this study, we propose a new scheme of initialization for forest ecosystem models, which we term a "slow-relaxation scheme", that entails scaling of the soil carbon and nitrogen pools slowly during the spin-up period. The proposed slow-relation scheme was tested with the CENTURY version 4 ecosystem model. Three different combinations of scaled soil pools were also tested, and compared to the results from a fast-relaxation regime. The fast-relaxation of soil pools produced unstable, transient model behaviour whereas slow-relaxation overcame this instability. This approach holds promise for initializing ecosystem models, and for starting simulations with more realistic initial conditions. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3598-3602
Number of pages5
JournalEcological Modelling
Issue number19
Early online date28 Sep 2011
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2011


  • Ecosystem model
  • Initialization
  • Spin-up
  • Soil carbon
  • Forest
  • Nitrogen
  • Cycle

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