Modelling (peat accumulation) in the USA

A short report from a recent trip Adam Hastie made to learn from colleagues at the University of New Hampshire, USA.

I recently went to visit Steve Frolking and Claire Treat at the University of New Hampshire (Durham) to learn how to use the HPMTrop model (Kurnianto et al., 2015). HPMTrop is a 1D model driven by water table variation, which simulates mass remaining in annual peat cohorts as a balance between vegetation inputs and decomposition. In other words, it creates a peat core profile and predicts how much of the accumulated peat is derived from leaves, wood and roots respectively (Fig. 1 left). I am using our field data from litter fall and decomposition bags (Fig. 1 right) in the Pastaza-Marañon foreland basin (PMFB) in Peru to parametrize the model to local conditions, so that we can investigate the hydrological and productivity limits to peat accumulation. The great thing about HPMTrop is that you can run it in a matter of minutes, and so can quickly see what effect changing this or that parameter has on rates of litter production and decomposition.

Fig. 1. Left- cohort mass from leaves, woods and roots by age as simulated by HPMTrop. Right-% mass of stem, root and leaf material at two field sites in the Pastaza-Marañon foreland basin in Peru; Nueva York 3 (NYO_03) and Veinte de Enero 2 (VEN_02). Data: Cesar Cordova, Jhon del Aguila Pasquel, Greta Dargie

I also had a great time with Steve (and his lovely family) and Clare in beautiful New Hampshire! I was very well looked after being taken out to micro-breweries, Asian fusion restaurants and a local Irish (with a little “Loch Lomond” thrown in!) music night a few of the highlights. I also visited a picturesque coastal town called Kittery where I met the local whale (see photo below) but sadly the town’s name was a blatant case of false advertising, I didn’t see one kitten!

Adam, posing with the local whale of Kittery!

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