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Letter2021Open access

Stochastic and deterministic interpretation of pool models

Azizi-Rad, Mina; Chanca, Ingrid; Herrera-Ramirez, David; Metzler, Holger; Sierra, Carlos A.


Carbon and element cycling models can be expressed in terms of the dynamics of individual particles or collection of them in aggregated pools. In both cases, the models represent the same dynamics and provide similar predictions. The time required for individual particles to pass through a system, that is, the transit time, can be obtained from both approaches. Pool models can be analyzed from a stochastic or a deterministic point of view. Waring et al. (2020) discuss several perceived limitations of pool models for representing soil organic carbon (SOC) dynamics and propose an approach (PROMISE) to overcome these limitations. We think it is important to critically analyze current SOC models and discuss their limitations, but we are concerned about important misconceptions and misunderstandings in Waring et al.'s (2020) contribution. Here, we would like to (1) show that pool models can display the set of behaviors that the authors say they cannot, and (2) show that the new proposed framework by the authors is also a pool model. We treat here pool models as synonyms of compartmental models, which are mathematical models that describe how the mass inside a set of compartments or pools change over time given some starting values. To be realistic, these models must obey the principle of mass conservation in the sense that matter cannot be spontaneously created or destroyed, and changes according to the balance between inputs and outputs of mass.

Published in

Global Change Biology
2021, Volume: 27, number: 11, pages: 2271-2272

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Soil Science

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