Dense tropical forests cover only about 8% of Earth’s land surface but help create a global cooling effect by absorbing vast amounts of planet-warming carbon dioxide within the massive trunks and long limbs of some of the tallest, oldest trees on Earth. This carbon sink is already in decline, and NGEE-Tropics researchers are focused on improving the ability of climate models to accurately calculate the carbon emitted or absorbed by these tropical forests before forests lose much more of their carbon-sink potential.

Calling out the need for an interdisciplinary approach to forest science, the Nature editorial authors describe how NGEE-Tropics is built around experimental and observational researchers collaborating to create a full, process-rich model. This Energy Exascale Earth System Model-Functionally Assembled Terrestrial Ecosystem Simulator (E3SM-FATES) is capable of simulating how ecological and physiological processes within the forest ecosystem respond to climate and environmental changes.

Learn more about NGEE-Tropics in this article.