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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 04 Dec 2019

Submitted as: research article | 04 Dec 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Application and evaluation of the dendroclimatic process-based model MAIDEN during the last century in Canada and Europe

Jeanne Rezsöhazy1,2, Hugues Goosse1, Joël Guiot2, Fabio Gennaretti3, Etienne Boucher4, Frédéric André5, and Mathieu Jonard5 Jeanne Rezsöhazy et al.
  • 1Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain), Earth and Life Institute (ELI), Georges Lemaître Centre for Earth and Climate Research (TECLIM), Place Louis Pasteur, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
  • 2Aix Marseille University, CNRS, IRD, INRA, College de France, CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence, France
  • 3Institut de recherche sur les forêts, UQAT, Rouyn-Noranda, Québec, J9X 5E4, Canada
  • 4Université du Québec à Montreal, Dépt. of Geography and GEOTOP, Montreal, H2V 1C7, Canada
  • 5Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain), Earth and Life Institute (ELI), Croix du Sud 2, L7.05.09, B-1348Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Abstract. Tree-ring archives are one of the main sources of information to reconstruct climate variations over the last millennium with annual resolution. The links between tree-ring proxies and climate have usually been estimated using statistical approaches, assuming linear and stationary relationships. Both assumptions may be inadequate but this issue can be overcome by ecophysiological modelling based on mechanistic understanding. In this respect, the model MAIDEN (Modeling and Analysis In DENdroecology) simulating tree ring growth from daily temperature and precipitation, considering carbon assimilation and allocation in forest stands, may constitute a valuable tool. However, the lack of local meteorological data and the limited characterisation of tree species traits can complicate the calibration and validation of such complex model, which may hamper paleoclimate applications. The goal of this study is to test the applicability of the MAIDEN model in a paleoclimate context using as a test case tree ring observations covering the twentieth century from twenty-one Eastern Canadian taiga sites and three European sites. More specifically, we investigate the model sensitivity to parameters calibration and to the quality of climatic inputs and evaluate the model performance using a validation procedure. We also examine the added value of using MAIDEN in paleoclimate applications compared to a simpler tree-growth model, VS-Lite. A bayesian calibration of the most sensitive model parameters provides good results at most of the selected sites with high correlations between simulated and observed tree-growth. Although MAIDEN is found to be sensitive to the quality of the climatic inputs, simple bias-correction and downscaling techniques of these data improve significantly the performance of the model. The split-sample validation of MAIDEN gives encouraging results but requires long tree-ring and meteorological series to give robust results. We also highlight a risk of overfitting in the calibration of model parameters that increases with short series. Finally, MAIDEN has shown higher calibration and validation correlations in most cases compared to VS-Lite. Nevertheless, this latter model turns out to be more stable over calibration and validation periods. Our results provide a protocol for the application of MAIDEN to potentially any site with tree-ring width data in the extratropical region.

Jeanne Rezsöhazy et al.
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Jeanne Rezsöhazy et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Tree rings are the main data source for climate reconstructions over the last millennium. Statistical tree-growth models have limitations that process-based models could overcome. Here, we investigate the possibility of using a process-based ecophysiological model (MAIDEN) as a complex proxy system model for paleoclimate applications. We show its ability to simulate tree-growth index time series that can fit robustly tree-ring width observations under certain conditions.
Tree rings are the main data source for climate reconstructions over the last millennium....