Leaf area indices in GEOS-Chem

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NOTE: Page under construction

On this page we provide an overview of how leaf area index data is used in GEOS-Chem. Also be sure to see our MODIS leaf area indices page, which describes the leaf area indices derived from the MODIS satellite instrument.

GEOS-Chem prior to v9-01-03

Prior to the official release of GEOS-Chem v9-01-03, GEOS-Chem used leaf area index data in the following manner:

LAI used by Dry deposition and soil NOx emissions

As of this writing (April 2012), GEOS-Chem currently uses leaf area index (LAI) data from two separate sources. The dry deposition and soil NOx modules rely on the data stored in ASCII files named lai*.global. These files (one per month, generated offline by IDL codes) are generated for each specific GEOS-Chem grid configuration (e.g. 4° x 5°, 2° x 2.5°, and 0.5° x 0.666° nested grids, etc.). These files are read from disk by routine rdlai.F, which saved the LAI data into arrays named XLAI (in CMN_DEP_mod.F) and XYLAI (in CMN_VEL_mod.F). XLAI and XYLAI store the leaf area index as a function of Olson land type (cf Olson 1992 land map).

GEOS-Chem users had the option to use either LAI from the AVHRR satellite instrument or the MODIS satellite instrument. Individual sets of lai*.global files were prepared for both AVHRR LAI and MODIS LAI data. Users could select either AVHRR LAI or MODIS LAI with a switch in the input.geos file. Customary usage is to select the MODIS LAI data, for reasons explained HERE.

LAI used by MEGAN biogenic emissions

The MEGAN biogenic emissions module also relies on MODIS LAI data. Routine RDISOLAI (in lai_mod.F) reads MODIS LAI at 1° x 1° native resolution from files in binary punch format. The LAI is regridded on-the-fly to GEOS-Chem resolution and stored in arrays named ISOLAI, PMISOLAI, MISOLAI, and NMISOLAI (all in lai_mod.F). The MEGAN module gets the MODIS LAI data directly from these arrays.

Issues that needed to be resolved

Therefore, these two sources of LAI data (i.e. one in the lai*.global files at GEOS-Chem resolution, and one at 1° x 1° native resoltuion) present an inconsistency that should be resolved. Furthermore, for the Grid-indpendent GEOS-Chem project we must move away from ASCII files (which prevent interfacing with external GCMs). We also cannot assume any particular horizontal grid, since that is now to be specified by the external GCM.

Finally, to facilitate simulations at ultra-fine horizontal resolution, we will eventually adopt the Olson 2001 land map, which has a native resolution of 0.25° x 0.25&deg. We will also use an updated version of the MODIS LAI data at 0.25 x 0.25 resolution.


To resolve these issues, we (the GEOS-Chem Support Team) has created a new module (modis_lai_mod.F90) which will reads MODIS LAI data from netCDF files at its native resoluton (either 0.5° x 0.5° or 0.25° x 0.25°, depending on which data set is selected) and regrid it to the current GEOS-Chem resolution. The XLAI array is populated for backwards compatibility with the legacy dry deposition and soil NOx emission codes. Also, the LAI arrays from lai_mod.F that are needed for MEGAN biogenic emissions (e.g. ISOLAI, PMISOLAI, MISOLAI, and NMISOLAI) are now replaced with arrays from modis_lai_mod.F (e.g. GC_LAI, GC_LAI_PM, GC_LAI_CM, and GC_LAI_NM).

We have validated that the new scheme generates identical XLAI arrays w/r/t the old scheme. The arrays GC_LAI etc. differ from the ISOLAI etc. arrays slightly (but generally agree to within 0.001). This is due to the fact that the ISOLAI arrays were regridded from 1° x 1° native resolution, but now we are regridding from much finer resolution (either 0.5° x 0.5° or 0.25° x 0.25°).

We have also taken the opportunity to replace the obsolete XYLAI array with XLAI, which will allow us to retire the obsolete legacy code module CMN_VEL_mod.F.

--Bob Y. 17:14, 9 April 2012 (EDT)

GEOS-Chem v9-01-03 and higher versions