Effective measures to counter the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere require that we better understand the functioning of the global carbon cycle. Uncertainties about, in particular, the terrestrial carbon cycle's response to climate change remain high. We use a well-known stochastic inversion technique originally developed in nuclear physics, the Metropolis algorithm, to determine the full probability density functions (PDFs) of parameters of a terrestrial ecosystem model. By thus assimilating half-hourly eddy covariance measurements of CO2 and water fluxes, we can substantially reduce the uncertainty of approximately five model parameters, depending on prior uncertainties. Further analysis of the posterior PDF shows that almost all parameters are nearly Gaussian distributed, and reveals some distinct groups of parameters that are constrained together. We show that after assimilating only 7 days of measurements, uncertainties for net carbon uptake over 2 years for the forest site can be substantially reduced, with the median estimate in excellent agreement with measurements.
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