Evaluation of Land–Atmosphere Coupling Processes and Climatological Bias in the UFS Global Coupled Model

Eunkyo Seo aDepartment of Environmental Atmospheric Sciences, Pukyong National University, Busan, South Korea
bCenter for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia

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Paul A. Dirmeyer bCenter for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia

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Michael Barlage cNOAA/National Centers for Environmental Prediction/Environmental Modeling Center, College Park, Maryland

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Heiln Wei cNOAA/National Centers for Environmental Prediction/Environmental Modeling Center, College Park, Maryland

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Michael Ek dJoint Numerical Testbed, Research Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Abstract

This study investigates the performance of the latter NCEP Unified Forecast System (UFS) Coupled Model prototype simulations (P5–P8) during boreal summer 2011–17 in regard to coupled land–atmosphere processes and their effect on model bias. Major land physics updates were implemented during the course of model development. Namely, the Noah land surface model was replaced with Noah-MP and the global vegetation dataset was updated starting with P7. These changes occurred along with many other UFS improvements. This study investigates UFS’s ability to simulate observed surface conditions in 35-day predictions based on the fidelity of model land surface processes. Several land surface states and fluxes are evaluated against flux tower observations across the globe, and segmented coupling processes are also diagnosed using process-based multivariate metrics. Near-surface meteorological variables generally improve, especially surface air temperature, and the land–atmosphere coupling metrics better represent the observed covariance between surface soil moisture and surface fluxes of moisture and radiation. Moreover, this study finds that temperature biases over the contiguous United States are connected to the model’s ability to simulate the different balances of coupled processes between water-limited and energy-limited regions. Sensitivity to land initial conditions is also implicated as a source of forecast error. Above all, this study presents a blueprint for the validation of coupled land–atmosphere behavior in forecast models, which is a crucial model development task to assure forecast fidelity from day one through subseasonal time scales.

© 2023 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Eunkyo Seo, eseo@pknu.ac.kr

Abstract

This study investigates the performance of the latter NCEP Unified Forecast System (UFS) Coupled Model prototype simulations (P5–P8) during boreal summer 2011–17 in regard to coupled land–atmosphere processes and their effect on model bias. Major land physics updates were implemented during the course of model development. Namely, the Noah land surface model was replaced with Noah-MP and the global vegetation dataset was updated starting with P7. These changes occurred along with many other UFS improvements. This study investigates UFS’s ability to simulate observed surface conditions in 35-day predictions based on the fidelity of model land surface processes. Several land surface states and fluxes are evaluated against flux tower observations across the globe, and segmented coupling processes are also diagnosed using process-based multivariate metrics. Near-surface meteorological variables generally improve, especially surface air temperature, and the land–atmosphere coupling metrics better represent the observed covariance between surface soil moisture and surface fluxes of moisture and radiation. Moreover, this study finds that temperature biases over the contiguous United States are connected to the model’s ability to simulate the different balances of coupled processes between water-limited and energy-limited regions. Sensitivity to land initial conditions is also implicated as a source of forecast error. Above all, this study presents a blueprint for the validation of coupled land–atmosphere behavior in forecast models, which is a crucial model development task to assure forecast fidelity from day one through subseasonal time scales.

© 2023 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Eunkyo Seo, eseo@pknu.ac.kr

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