A traceability analysis system for model evaluation on land carbon dynamics: design and applications

Jian Zhou, Jianyang Xia, Ning Wei, Yufu Liu, Chenyu Bian, Yuqi Bai, Yiqi Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: An increasing number of ecological processes have been incorporated into Earth system models. However, model evaluations usually lag behind the fast development of models, leading to a pervasive simulation uncertainty in key ecological processes, especially the terrestrial carbon (C) cycle. Traceability analysis provides a theoretical basis for tracking and quantifying the structural uncertainty of simulated C storage in models. Thus, a new tool of model evaluation based on the traceability analysis is urgently needed to efficiently diagnose the sources of inter-model variations on the terrestrial C cycle in Earth system models. Methods: A new cloud-based model evaluation platform, i.e., the online traceability analysis system for model evaluation (TraceME v1.0), was established. The TraceME was applied to analyze the uncertainties of seven models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). Results: The TraceME can effectively diagnose the key sources of different land C dynamics among CMIIP6 models. For example, the analyses based on TraceME showed that the estimation of global land C storage varied about 2.4 folds across the seven CMIP6 models. Among all models, IPSL-CM6A-LR simulated the lowest land C storage, which mainly resulted from its shortest baseline C residence time. Over the historical period of 1850–2014, gross primary productivity and baseline C residence time were the major uncertainty contributors to the inter-model variation in ecosystem C storage in most land grid cells. Conclusion: TraceME can facilitate model evaluation by identifying sources of model uncertainty and provides a new tool for the next generation of model evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12
JournalEcological Processes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • CMIP6
  • land carbon cycle
  • model evaluation
  • traceability analysis
  • uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Ecological Modeling


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