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Water 2015, 7(5), 2101-2141; doi:10.3390/w7052101

Extending the Global Sensitivity Analysis of the SimSphere model in the Context of its Future Exploitation by the Scientific Community

1
Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Aberystwyth, Wales SY23 3DB, UK
2
The Food and Environment Research Agency, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ, UK
3
Department of Natural Resources Management & Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural University of Athens, 75 Iera Odos, Athens 118 55, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Miklas Scholz
Received: 28 November 2014 / Revised: 20 April 2015 / Accepted: 22 April 2015 / Published: 8 May 2015
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Abstract

In today’s changing climate, the development of robust, accurate and globally applicable models is imperative for a wider understanding of Earth’s terrestrial biosphere. Moreover, an understanding of the representation, sensitivity and coherence of such models are vital for the operationalisation of any physically based model. A Global Sensitivity Analysis (GSA) was conducted on the SimSphere land biosphere model in which a meta-modelling method adopting Bayesian theory was implemented. Initially, effects of assuming uniform probability distribution functions (PDFs) for the model inputs, when examining sensitivity of key quantities simulated by SimSphere at different output times, were examined. The development of topographic model input parameters (e.g., slope, aspect, and elevation) were derived within a Geographic Information System (GIS) before implementation within the model. The effect of time of the simulation on the sensitivity of previously examined outputs was also analysed. Results showed that simulated outputs were significantly influenced by changes in topographic input parameters, fractional vegetation cover, vegetation height and surface moisture availability in agreement with previous studies. Time of model output simulation had a significant influence on the absolute values of the output variance decomposition, but it did not seem to change the relative importance of each input parameter. Sensitivity Analysis (SA) results of the newly modelled outputs allowed identification of the most responsive model inputs and interactions. Our study presents an important step forward in SimSphere verification given the increasing interest in its use both as an independent modelling and educational tool. Furthermore, this study is very timely given on-going efforts towards the development of operational products based on the synergy of SimSphere with Earth Observation (EO) data. In this context, results also provide additional support for the potential applicability of the assimilation of spatial analysis data derived from GIS and EO data into an accurate modelling framework. View Full-Text
Keywords: SimSphere; remote sensing; Earth; GIS; sensitivity analysis; BACCO GEM-SA; gaussian process emulators SimSphere; remote sensing; Earth; GIS; sensitivity analysis; BACCO GEM-SA; gaussian process emulators
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Petropoulos, G.P.; Ireland, G.; Griffiths, H.M.; Kennedy, M.C.; Ioannou-Katidis, P.; Kalivas, D.P. Extending the Global Sensitivity Analysis of the SimSphere model in the Context of its Future Exploitation by the Scientific Community. Water 2015, 7, 2101-2141.

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