Land surface models have an increasing scope. Initially designed to capture the feedbacks between the land and the atmosphere as part of weather and climate prediction, they are now used as a critical tool in the urgent need to inform policy about land-use and water-use management in a world that is changing physically and economically. This paper outlines the way that models have evolved through this change of purpose and what might the future hold. It highlights the importance of distinguishing between advances in the science within the modelling components, with the advances of how to represent their interaction. This latter aspect of modelling is often overlooked but will increasingly manifest as an issue as the complexity of the system, the time and space scales of the system being modelled increase. These increases are due to technology, data availability and the urgency and range of the problems being studied.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are grateful to all the model developers in reporting on their models in the building of the tables in the Appendix: Elena Shevliakova (GFDL, USA), Philippe Peylin (LSCE, France), Katherine Calvin (PNNL, USA), Gianpaulo Balsamo (ECMWF, UK), Aaron Boone (Meteo France).
© 2021, The Author(s).
- Climate models
- Land surface models
- Model frameworks