Parallelization of a distributed ecohydrological model

Ning Liu, Mohsin Ahmed Shaikh, Jatin Kala, Richard J. Harper, Bernard Dell, Shirong Liu, Ge Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


WaSSI-C is an ecohydrological model which couples water and carbon cycles with water use efficiency (WUE) derived from global eddy flux observations. However, a significant limitation of the WaSSI-C model is that it only runs serially. High resolution simulations at a large scale are therefore computationally expensive and cause a run-time memory burden. Using distributed (MPI) and shared (OpenMP) memory parallelism techniques, we revised the original model as dWaSSI-C. We showed that using MPI was effective in reducing the computational run-time and memory use. Two experiments were carried out to simulate water and carbon fluxes over the Australian continent to test the sensitivity of the parallelized model to input data-sets of different spatial resolutions, as well as to WUE parameters for different vegetation types. These simulations were completed within minutes using dWaSSI-C, whereas they would not have been possible with the serial version. The dWaSSI-C model was able to simulate the seasonal dynamics of gross ecosystem productivity (GEP) reasonably well when compared to observations at four eddy flux sites. Sensitivity analysis showed that simulated GEP was more sensitive to WUE during the summer compared to winter in Australia, and woody savannas and grasslands showed higher sensitivity than evergreen broadleaf forests and shrublands. Although our results are model-specific, the parallelization approach can be adopted in other similar ecosystem models for large scale applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-63
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by resources provided by the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre with funding from the Australian Government and the Government of Western Australia , a Murdoch University Doctoral Scholarship (Ning Liu) and the Chinese Academy of Forestry (Special Research Program for Public-welfare Forestry ( 201304201 )). This work used eddy covariance data acquired and shared by the OzFlux-TERN network. Dr Jatin Kala is supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Grant ( DE170100102 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Distributed memory parallelism
  • Ecohydrological modeling
  • High performance computing
  • Shared memory parallelism
  • Water and carbon fluxes

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