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Maximum entropy production allows a simple representation of heterogeneity in semiarid ecosystems

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons62555

Schymanski,  S. J.
Terrestrial Biosphere, Research Group Biospheric Theory and Modelling, Dr. A. Kleidon, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons62438

Kleidon,  A.
Research Group Biospheric Theory and Modelling, Dr. A. Kleidon, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Schymanski, S. J., Kleidon, A., Stieglitz, M., & Narula, J. (2010). Maximum entropy production allows a simple representation of heterogeneity in semiarid ecosystems. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London - Series B: Biological Sciences, 365(1545), 1449-1455. doi:10.1098/rstb.2009.0309.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-DAE2-1
Abstract
Feedbacks between water use, biomass and infiltration capacity in semiarid ecosystems have been shown to lead to the spontaneous formation of vegetation patterns in a simple model. The formation of patterns permits the maintenance of larger overall biomass at low rainfall rates compared with homogeneous vegetation. This results in a bias of models run at larger scales neglecting subgrid-scale variability. In the present study, we investigate the question whether subgrid-scale heterogeneity can be parameterized as the outcome of optimal partitioning between bare soil and vegetated area. We find that a two-box model reproduces the time-averaged biomass of the patterns emerging in a 100 x 100 grid model if the vegetated fraction is optimized for maximum entropy production (MEP). This suggests that the proposed optimality-based representation of subgrid-scale heterogeneity may be generally applicable to different systems and at different scales. The implications for our understanding of self-organized behaviour and its modelling are discussed.