Estimating the net ecosystem exchange at global FLUXNET sites using a random forest model

Ni Huang, Li Wang, Yuelin Zhang, Shuai Gao, Zheng Niu
<span title="">2021</span> <i title="Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)"> <a target="_blank" rel="noopener" href="https://fatcat.wiki/container/b2n2tpw5ang73osulebz6bm4ju" style="color: black;">IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing</a> </i> &nbsp;
Despite considerable progress in scaling carbon fluxes from eddy covariance sites to globe, significant uncertainties still exist when estimating the global net ecosystem exchange (NEE). In this study, the site-level NEE was estimated from FLUXNET, a global network of eddy covariance towers, using a random forest (RF) model based on remote sensing products and precipitation data. The plant function type (PFT) had the highest relative explanatory power in predicting the global site-level NEE.
more &raquo; ... ever, within PFTs, water-related variables (i.e., the total precipitation, remotely sensed evapotranspiration, land surface water index, and the difference between daytime and nighttime land surface temperature) and soil respiration (Rs) were strong predictors of NEE variability. Cross-validation analyses revealed the good performance of RF in predicting the spatiotemporal variability of monthly NEE at 168 global FLUXNET sites, with an R 2 of 0.72 and an RMSE of 0.96 g C m -2 day -1 . The performance was also good when predicting across-site (R 2 =0.75) and seasonal patterns (R 2 =0.92) over the 58 sites with available data being longer than 2 years and the 12-month value being present for each year. The RF-estimated NEE showed better relationships with the tower-measured NEE than a global NEE product from FLUXCOM across all PFTs. The difference between the RFestimated NEE and FLUXCOM NEE was likely linked to the different predictor sets, such as those with more water-related variables and Rs. This study indicates the importance of considering the influence of water-related variables and Rs in the estimation of NEE at the global scale.
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