Imperial College London

Professor Iain Colin Prentice

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Chair in Biosphere and Climate Impacts



+44 (0)20 7594 2354c.prentice




1.1Centre for Population BiologySilwood Park






BibTex format

author = {Stocker, BD and Wang, H and Smith, NG and Harrison, SP and Keenan, TF and Sandoval, Calle D and Davis, T and Prentice, I},
doi = {10.5194/gmd-2019-200},
journal = {Geoscientific Model Development},
title = {P-model v1.0: an optimality-based light use efficiency model forsimulating ecosystem gross primary production},
url = {},
year = {2020}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Terrestrial photosynthesis is the basis for vegetation growth and drives the land carbon cycle. Accurately simulating gross primary production (GPP, ecosystem-level apparent photosynthesis) is key for satellite monitoring and Earth System Model predictions under climate change. While robust models exist for describing leaf-level photosynthesis, predictions diverge due to uncertain photosynthetic traits and parameters which vary on multiple spatial and temporal scales. Here, we describe and evaluate a gross primary production (GPP, photosynthesis per unit ground area) model, the P-model, that combines the Farquhar-von Caemmerer-Berry model for C3 photosynthesis with an optimality principle for the carbon assimilation-transpiration trade-off, and predicts a multi-day average light use efficiency (LUE) for any climate and C3 vegetation type. The model is forced here with satellite data for the fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation and site-specific meteorological data and is evaluated against GPP estimates from a globally distributed network of ecosystem flux measurements. Although the P-model requires relatively few inputs and prescribed parameters, the R2 for predicted versus observed GPP based on the full model setup is 0.75 (8-day mean, 131 sites) – better than some state-of-the-art satellite data-driven light use efficiency models. The R2 is reduced to 0.69 when not accounting for the reduction in quantum yield at low temperatures and effects of low soil moisture on LUE. The R2 for the P-model-predicted LUE is 0.37 (means by site) and 0.53 (means by vegetation type). The P-model provides a simple but powerful method for predicting – rather than prescribing – light use efficiency and simulating terrestrial photosythesis across a wide range of conditions. The model is available as an R package (rpmodel).
AU - Stocker,BD
AU - Wang,H
AU - Smith,NG
AU - Harrison,SP
AU - Keenan,TF
AU - Sandoval,Calle D
AU - Davis,T
AU - Prentice,I
DO - 10.5194/gmd-2019-200
PY - 2020///
SN - 1991-959X
TI - P-model v1.0: an optimality-based light use efficiency model forsimulating ecosystem gross primary production
T2 - Geoscientific Model Development
UR -
UR -
ER -