Puma et al. 2013
, R.D. Koster, and , 2013: Phenological versus meteorological controls on land-atmosphere water and carbon fluxes. J. Geophys. Res. Biogeosci., 118, no. 1, 14-29, doi:10.1029/2012JG002088.
Phenological dynamics and their related processes strongly constrain land-atmosphere interactions, but their relative importance vis-à-vis meteorological forcing within general circulation models (GCMs) is still uncertain. Using an off-line land surface model, we evaluate leaf area and meteorological controls on gross primary productivity, evapotranspiration, transpiration, and runoff at four North American sites, representing different vegetation types and background climates. Our results demonstrate that compared to meteorological controls, variation in leaf area has a dominant control on gross primary productivity, a comparable but smaller influence on transpiration, a weak influence on total evapotranspiration, and a negligible impact on runoff. Climate regime and characteristic variations in leaf area have important modulating effects on these relative controls, which vary depending on the fluxes and timescales of interest. We find that leaf area in energy-limited evaporative regimes tends to exhibit greater control on annual gross primary productivity than in moisture-limited regimes, except when vegetation exhibits little inter-annual variation in leaf area. For transpiration, leaf area control is somewhat less in energy-limited regimes and greater in moisture-limited regimes for maximum pentad and annual fluxes. These modulating effects of climate and leaf area were less clear for other fluxes and at other timescales. Our findings are relevant to land-atmosphere coupling in GCMs, especially considering that leaf area variations are a fundamental element of land use and land cover change simulations.