Seasonal Variations of Water, Energy, and Carbon Fluxes Across a Moisture Gradient in West Africa

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Sunday, 2 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
A. S. Denning; and D. C. Smith and I. Baker

While grasslands make up nearly 40% of Earth's land surface, many areas remain understudied and under observed. Particularly, tropical grasslands are generally less researched sites due to the remoteness of their location. Model output and satellite data have become key resources when describing and analyzing the ecological processes occurring in these areas. In this project, the Simple Biosphere Model (SiB) and fluorescence data are used alongside each other to summarize the productivity both seasonally and annually in several grassland sites in West Africa. While SiB interpreted the overall meteorological processes fairly well, the model struggled to accurately describe the variations in leaf indices, including; leaf area index, fraction of photosynthetically active radiation, and fluorescence. Specifically, fluorescence data retrieved by satellite showed variability seasonally, whereas, SiB showed very little. To improve SiB's output, the phenology of each grassland site are examined and altered to create a more realistic description than what had been previously used. The adaption resulted in more accurate modeling of ecological processes in West African grasslands.