Atmosphere Ocean Science Colloquium

Representing Agricultural Land Management in Earth System Models

Speaker: Sonali Mcdermid, NYU

Location: Warren Weaver Hall 1302

Date: Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 3:30 p.m.


Agricultural production is the dominant mode anthropogenic land surface modification, encompassing nearly 40% of Earth's land surface at varying levels of intensive management. Transitions and conversions between natural vegetation and cultivated lands - or even between agricultural systems - can substantially alter the radiative and turbulent fluxes at Earth's surface, thereby potentially impacting regional climate systems. As such, a variety of efforts are now underway to better represent agriculture and land management in current Earth System Models (ESMs). These range from prescribed representations via modification of terrestrial surface characteristics to fully coupled, dynamic vegetation, crop and ecosystem models. In this talk, I will provide an overview on (agricultural) land surface modeling and discuss approaches to representing photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, crop-specific growth and development, and other major processes - and management conditions - relevant to regional climate dynamics. I will then briefly review the major implementations of agricultural land management in current ESMs; share results from ongoing efforts to characterize agriculture's contribution to the overall landuse forcing; and discuss the limitations, intended goals, and avenues for continued and future development.