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Long-Term Climate and Derived Surface Hydrology and Energy Flux Data for Mexico: 1925–2004

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  • 1 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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Abstract

Studying the role of land surface conditions in the Mexican portion of the North American monsoon system (NAMS) region has been a challenge due to the paucity of long-term observations. A long-term gridded observation-based climate dataset suitable for forcing land surface models, as well as model-derived land surface states and fluxes for a domain consisting of all of Mexico, is described. The datasets span the period of January 1925–October 2004 at 1/8° spatial resolution at a subdaily (3 h) time step. The simulated runoff matches the observations plausibly over most of the 14 small river basins spanning all of Mexico, which suggests that long-term mean evapotranspiration is realistically reproduced. On this basis, and given the physically based model parameterizations of soil moisture and energy fluxes, the other surface fluxes and state variables such as soil moisture should be represented reasonably. In addition, a comparison of the surface fluxes from this study is performed with North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) data on a seasonal mean basis. The results indicate that downward shortwave radiation is generally smaller than in the NARR data, especially in summer. Net radiation, on the other hand, is somewhat larger in the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrological model than in the NARR data for much of the year over much of the domain. The differences in radiative and turbulent fluxes are attributed to (i) the parameterization used in the VIC forcings for solar and downward longwave radiation, which links them to the daily temperature and temperature range, and (ii) differences in the land surface parameterizations used in VIC and the NCEP–Oregon State University–U.S. Air Force–NWS/Hydrologic Research Lab (Noah) land scheme used in NARR.

Corresponding author address: Dennis P. Lettenmaier, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, 202D Wilson Ceramic Lab, Box 352700, Seattle, WA 98195-2700. Email: dennisl@u.washington.edu

This article included in the North American Monsoon Experiment (NAME) special collection.

Abstract

Studying the role of land surface conditions in the Mexican portion of the North American monsoon system (NAMS) region has been a challenge due to the paucity of long-term observations. A long-term gridded observation-based climate dataset suitable for forcing land surface models, as well as model-derived land surface states and fluxes for a domain consisting of all of Mexico, is described. The datasets span the period of January 1925–October 2004 at 1/8° spatial resolution at a subdaily (3 h) time step. The simulated runoff matches the observations plausibly over most of the 14 small river basins spanning all of Mexico, which suggests that long-term mean evapotranspiration is realistically reproduced. On this basis, and given the physically based model parameterizations of soil moisture and energy fluxes, the other surface fluxes and state variables such as soil moisture should be represented reasonably. In addition, a comparison of the surface fluxes from this study is performed with North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) data on a seasonal mean basis. The results indicate that downward shortwave radiation is generally smaller than in the NARR data, especially in summer. Net radiation, on the other hand, is somewhat larger in the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrological model than in the NARR data for much of the year over much of the domain. The differences in radiative and turbulent fluxes are attributed to (i) the parameterization used in the VIC forcings for solar and downward longwave radiation, which links them to the daily temperature and temperature range, and (ii) differences in the land surface parameterizations used in VIC and the NCEP–Oregon State University–U.S. Air Force–NWS/Hydrologic Research Lab (Noah) land scheme used in NARR.

Corresponding author address: Dennis P. Lettenmaier, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, 202D Wilson Ceramic Lab, Box 352700, Seattle, WA 98195-2700. Email: dennisl@u.washington.edu

This article included in the North American Monsoon Experiment (NAME) special collection.

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