The Terrestrial Biosphere Model Farm

Joshua B. Fisher, Munish Sikka, Gary L. Block, Christopher R. Schwalm, Nicholas C. Parazoo, Hannah R. Kolus, Malen Sok, Audrey Wang, Anna Gagne-Landmann, Shakirudeen Lawal, Alexandre Guillaume, Alyssa Poletti, Kevin M. Schaefer, Bassil El Masri, Peter E. Levy, Yaxing Wei, Michael C. Dietze, Deborah N. Huntzinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Model Intercomparison Projects (MIPs) are fundamental to our understanding of how the land surface responds to changes in climate. However, MIPs are challenging to conduct, requiring the organization of multiple, decentralized modeling teams throughout the world running common protocols. We explored centralizing these models on a single supercomputing system. We ran nine offline terrestrial biosphere models through the Terrestrial Biosphere Model Farm: CABLE, CENTURY, HyLand, ISAM, JULES, LPJ-GUESS, ORCHIDEE, SiB-3, and SiB-CASA. All models were wrapped in a software framework driven with common forcing data, spin-up, and run protocols specified by the Multi-scale Synthesis and Terrestrial Model Intercomparison Project (MsTMIP) for years 1901–2100. We ran more than a dozen model experiments. We identify three major benefits and three major challenges. The benefits include: (a) processing multiple models through a MIP is relatively straightforward, (b) MIP protocols are run consistently across models, which may reduce some model output variability, and (c) unique multimodel experiments can provide novel output for analysis. The challenges are: (a) technological demand is large, particularly for data and output storage and transfer; (b) model versions lag those from the core model development teams; and (c) there is still a need for intellectual input from the core model development teams for insight into model results. A merger with the open-source, cloud-based Predictive Ecosystem Analyzer (PEcAn) ecoinformatics system may be a path forward to overcoming these challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021MS002676
JournalJournal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Earth System Model
  • PEcAn
  • ecoinformatic
  • ecosystem model
  • land surface model
  • model intercomparison project
  • terrestrial biosphere model
  • vegetation model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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