Design Foundations for Climate Change Adaptation Programs: Ecosystem Model Integration

NASA Goddard

NASA Goddard Team: Caitlin Spence, Amna Sarfraz, Leah Flake

2010-2011: In collaboration with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (Goddard), this student team explored opportunities to integrate two ecosystem modeling programs, UFORE (Urban Forest Effects, a tree-level urban forestry program) and Biome-BGC (Biome-BioGeoChemistry, a biome-level process model) so as to improve ecosystem modeling and management.

The team compared the applications, functions, inputs, and outputs of both ecosystem models, and proposed design concepts to improve the models either through enhancement or integration.  The team evaluated the different concepts against a set of design criteria and selected two for initial development: addition of a nitrogen uptake module in UFORE, and estimation of uncertainty in both models.  The team prepared prototype code to calculate urban forest nitrogen storage in UFORE and applied the method to a sample forest at the University of Maryland campus.  The team also implemented a Monte Carlo simulation to evaluate the effects of input uncertainty on net primary production in Biome-BGC and on urban forest energy effects in UFORE.

The team contributed to two journal papers detailing their model review and design concepts.  Pending further development, the team’s code may be implemented at federal facilities and urban centers as part of climate change adaptation planning nationally.