MARKL Multimodel evaluations.pdf (2.08 MB)

Multimodel evaluation of nitrous oxide emissions from an intensively managed grassland

Download (2.08 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 18:25 authored by Kathrin Fuchs, Lutz Merbold, Nina Buchmann, Daniel Bretscher, Lorenzo Brilli, Nuala Fitton, Cairistiona Topp, Katja Klumpp, Mark Lieffering, Raphael Martin, Paul NewtonPaul Newton, Robert Rees, Susanne Rollinski, Peter SmithPeter Smith, Val SnowVal Snow
Process‐based models are useful for assessing the impact of changing management practices and climate on yields and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agricultural systems such as grasslands. They can be used to construct national GHG inventories using a Tier 3 approach. However, accurate simulations of nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes remain challenging. Models are limited by our understanding of soil‐plant‐microbe interactions and the impact of uncertainty in measured input parameters on simulated outputs. To improve model performance, thorough evaluations against in situ measurements are needed. Experimental data of N2O emissions under two management practices (control with typical fertilization versus increased clover and no fertilization) were acquired in a Swiss field experiment. We conducted a multimodel evaluation with three commonly used biogeochemical models (DayCent in two variants, PaSim, APSIM in two variants) comparing four years of data. DayCent was the most accurate model for simulating N2O fluxes on annual timescales, while APSIM was most accurate for daily N2O fluxes. The multimodel ensemble average reduced the error in estimated annual fluxes by 41% compared to an estimate using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)‐derived method for the Swiss agricultural GHG inventory (IPCC‐Swiss), but individual models were not systematically more accurate than IPCC‐Swiss. The model ensemble overestimated the N2O mitigation effect of the clover‐based treatment (measured: 39–45%; ensemble: 52–57%) but was more accurate than IPCC‐Swiss (IPCC‐Swiss: 72–81%). These results suggest that multimodel ensembles are valuable for estimating the impact of climate and management on N2O emissions.


Rights statement

©2019. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.


  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No



Journal title

JGR Biogeosciences




Fuchs, K., Merbold, L., Buchmann, N., Bretscher, D., Brilli, L., Fitton, N., … Snow, V. (2020). Multimodel evaluation of nitrous oxide emissions from an intensively managed grassland. JGR Biogeosciences, 125(1), e2019JG005261. doi:10.1029/2019JG005261

Usage metrics


    Ref. manager