The Project for Intercomparison of Land-surface Parameterization Schemes (PILPS) is described and the first stage science plan outlined. PILPS is a project designed to improve the parameterization of the continental surface, especially the hydrological, energy, momentum, and carbon exchanges with the atmosphere. The PILPS Science Plan incorporates enhanced documentation, comparison, and validation of continental surface parameterization schemes by community participation. Potential participants include code developers, code users, and those who can provide datasets for validation and who have expertise of value in this exercise. PILPS is an important activity because existing intercomparisons, although piecemeal, demonstrate that there are significant differences in the formulation of individual processes in the available land surface schemes. These differences are comparable to other recognized differences among current global climate models such as cloud and convection parameterizations. It is also clear that too few sensitivity studies have been undertaken with the result that there is not yet enough information to indicate which simplifications or omissions are important for the near-surface continental climate, hydrology, and biogeochemistry. PILPS emphasizes sensitivity studies with and intercomparisons of existing land surface codes and the development of areally extensive datasets for their testing and validation.

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*Climatic Impacts Centre, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

+Institute of Atmospheric Physics, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona