Land-atmosphere coupling at the U.S. Southern Great Plains: A comparison on local convective regimes between ARM observations, reanalysis, and climate model simulations

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  • 1 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California
  • 2 Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Illinois
  • 3 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
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Abstract

Using the 9-yr warm-season observations at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Southern Great Plains site, we assess the land-atmosphere (L-A) coupling in North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) and two climate models: hindcasts with the Community Atmosphere Model version 5.1 by Cloud-Associated Parameterizations Testbed (CAM5-CAPT) and nudged runs with the Energy Exascale Earth System Model Atmosphere Model version 1 Regionally Refined Model (EAMv1-RRM). We focus on three local convective regimes and diagnose model behaviors using the Local Coupling metrics (Santanello et al. 2018). NARR agrees well with observations except a slightly warmer and drier surface with higher downwelling shortwave radiation and lower evaporative fraction. On clear-sky days, it shows warmer and drier early-morning conditions in both models with significant underestimates in surface evaporation by EAMv1-RRM. On the majority of the ARM-observed shallow cumulus days, there is no or little low-level clouds in either model. When captured in models, the simulated shallow cumulus shows much less cloud fraction and lower cloud bases than observed. On the days with late-afternoon deep convection, models tend to present a stable early-morning lower atmosphere more frequently than the observations, suggesting that the deep convection is triggered more often by elevated instabilities. Generally, CAM5-CAPT can reproduce the local L-A coupling processes to some extent due to the constrained early-morning conditions and large-scale winds. EAMv1-RRM exhibits large precipitation deficits and warm and dry biases towards mid-to-late summers, which may be an amplification through a positive L-A feedback among initial atmosphere and land states, convection triggering and large-scale circulations.

Corresponding author address: Cheng Tao, Atmospheric, Earth, and Energy Division (L-103), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94550. E-mail: tao4@llnl.gov

Abstract

Using the 9-yr warm-season observations at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Southern Great Plains site, we assess the land-atmosphere (L-A) coupling in North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) and two climate models: hindcasts with the Community Atmosphere Model version 5.1 by Cloud-Associated Parameterizations Testbed (CAM5-CAPT) and nudged runs with the Energy Exascale Earth System Model Atmosphere Model version 1 Regionally Refined Model (EAMv1-RRM). We focus on three local convective regimes and diagnose model behaviors using the Local Coupling metrics (Santanello et al. 2018). NARR agrees well with observations except a slightly warmer and drier surface with higher downwelling shortwave radiation and lower evaporative fraction. On clear-sky days, it shows warmer and drier early-morning conditions in both models with significant underestimates in surface evaporation by EAMv1-RRM. On the majority of the ARM-observed shallow cumulus days, there is no or little low-level clouds in either model. When captured in models, the simulated shallow cumulus shows much less cloud fraction and lower cloud bases than observed. On the days with late-afternoon deep convection, models tend to present a stable early-morning lower atmosphere more frequently than the observations, suggesting that the deep convection is triggered more often by elevated instabilities. Generally, CAM5-CAPT can reproduce the local L-A coupling processes to some extent due to the constrained early-morning conditions and large-scale winds. EAMv1-RRM exhibits large precipitation deficits and warm and dry biases towards mid-to-late summers, which may be an amplification through a positive L-A feedback among initial atmosphere and land states, convection triggering and large-scale circulations.

Corresponding author address: Cheng Tao, Atmospheric, Earth, and Energy Division (L-103), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94550. E-mail: tao4@llnl.gov
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