Pitt | Swanson Engineering
CEE Xu Liang to participate in Land Ecosystem Models based On New Theory, obseRvations and ExperimEnts (LEMONTREE) project

PITTSBURGH (March 25, 2021) ... A University of Pittsburgh team, led by Xu Liang from Swanson School of Engineering, will collaborate with top scientists around the world in a new thrust to study Land Ecosystem of the Earth in the project called LEMONTREE funded by Schmidt Futures and under the umbrella of VESRI, the Virtual Earth System Research Institute (https://schmidtfutures.com/our-work/scientific-knowledge/vesri/). The Pitt team will develop a land surface model VIC++, a significant extension of the VIC model, based on new theory and newly available rich observations. The VIC model has been widely used both nationally and internationally. It is also one of the models used in the NASA Land Data Assimilation System (LDAS). The official announcement of the thrust reads as follows:

Reading University will be coordinating a new 5-year project Land Ecosystem Models based On New Theory, obseRvations and ExperimEnts (LEMONTREE) funded by Schmidt Futures and under the umbrella of VESRI, the Virtual Earth System Research Institute. LEMONTREE will develop a next-generation model of the terrestrial biosphere and its interactions with the carbon cycle, water cycle and climate.

The LEMONTREE approach draws on eco-evolutionary optimality theory as a basis for building ecosystem models that rest on firm theoretical and empirical foundations, and that can be incorporated into the land-surface component of climate models. These models should eventually yield more reliable projections of future climates. This could give a newfound ability to address issues in sustainability, including the potential to maintain the biosphere’s capacity to regulate the carbon cycle while benefiting human well-being and development.

LEMONTREE is an international consortium with participants from Reading, Imperial College London, Columbia University, the University of Pittsburgh, UC Berkeley, Utrecht University, Seoul National University, Texas Tech University, Tsinghua University, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, the UK Met Office and the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts. Sandy Harrison, project lead for Reading University, says "The Lemontree consortium have been collaborating informally for several years, and I am very excited that with the support of Eric and Wendy Schmidt by recommendation of the Schmidt Futures program, we have the opportunity to fast-track our efforts to create a better understanding of the way the terrestrial biosphere works and how this impacts biogeochemical cycles, climate and feedbacks to ecosystem services."

3/25/2021

Contact: Paul Kovach