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Siqi Yang
,
Jiangyuan Zeng
,
Wenjie Fan
, and
Yaokui Cui

Abstract

Root-zone soil moisture (RZSM) is an important variable in land–atmosphere interactions, notably affecting the global climate system. Contrary to satellite-based acquisition of surface soil moisture, RZSM is generally obtained from model-based simulations. In this study, in situ observations from the Naqu and Pali networks that represent different climatic conditions over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) and a triple collocation (TC) method are used to evaluate model-based RZSM products, including Global Land Evaporation Amsterdam Model (GLEAM) (versions 3.5a and 3.5b), Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS) (versions 2.1 and 2.2), and the fifth-generation European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts reanalysis (ERA5). The evaluation results based on in situ observations indicate that all products tend to overestimate but could generally capture the temporal variation, and ERA5 exhibits the best performance with the highest R (0.875) and the lowest unbiased RMSE (ubRMSE; 0.015 m3 m−3) against in situ observations in the Naqu network. In the TC analysis, similar results are obtained: ERA5 has the best performance with the highest TC-derived R (0.785) over the entire TP, followed by GLEAM v3.5a (0.746) and GLDAS-2.1 (0.682). Meanwhile, GLEAM v3.5a and GLDAS-2.1 outperform GLEAM v3.5b and GLDAS-2.2 over the entire TP, respectively. Besides, possible error causes in evaluating these RZSM products are summarized, and the effectiveness of TC method is also evaluated with two dense networks, finding that TC method is reliable since TC-derived R is close to ground-derived R, with only 6.85% mean relative differences. These results using both in situ observations and TC method may provide a new perspective for the soil moisture product developers to further enhance the accuracy of model-based RZSM over the TP.

Significance Statement

The purpose of this study is to better understand the quality and applicability of GLEAM, GLDAS, and ERA5 RZSM products over the TP using both in situ observations and the triple collocation (TC) method, making it better applied to climate and hydrological research. This study provides four standard statistical metrics evaluation based on in situ observations, as well as the reliable metric, that is, correlation coefficient (R) derived from TC method, and highlights that TC-based evaluation could supplement the ground-based validation, especially over the data-scarce TP region.

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John R. Christy

Abstract

Time series of snowfall observations from over 500 stations in Oregon (OR) and Washington (WA) were generated for subregions of these states. Data problems encountered were as follows: 1) monthly totals in printed reports prior to 1940 that were not in the digital archive, 2) archived data listed as “missing” that were available, 3) digitized reports after 2010 eliminated good data, and 4) “zero” totals incorrectly entered in the official archive rather than “missing,” especially after 1980. Though addressing these was done, there is reduced confidence that some regional time series are representative of true long-term trends, especially for regions with few systematically reporting stations. For most regions characterized by consistent monitoring and with the most robust statistical reproducibility, we find no statistically significant trends in their periods of record (up to 131 years) for November–April seasonal totals through April 2020. This result includes the main snowfall regions of the Cascade Range. However, snowfall in some lower-elevation areas of OR and WA appear to have experienced declining trends, consistent with an increase in northeastern Pacific Ocean temperatures. Finally, previously constructed time series through April 2011 for regions in California are updated through April 2020 to include the recent, exceptionally low seasonal totals on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. This update indicates 2014/15 was the record lowest, 2013/14 was the 5th lowest, and 2012/13 was the 14th lowest of 142 years. Even so, the 1879–2020 linear trend in this key watershed region, though −2.6% decade−1, was not significantly different from zero due to high interannual variability and reconstruction uncertainty.

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Hongxing Zheng
,
Francis H.S. Chiew
, and
Lu Zhang

Abstract

Dominant hydrological processes of a catchment could shift due to a changing climate. This climate-induced hydrological nonstationarity could affect the reliability of future runoff projection developed using a hydrological model calibrated for the historical period as the model or parameters may no longer be suitable under a different future hydroclimate. This paper explores whether competing parameterization approaches proposed to account for hydrological nonstationarity could improve the robustness of future runoff projection compared to the traditional approach where the model is calibrated targeting overall model performance over the entire historical period. The modeling experiments are carried out using climate and streamflow datasets from southeastern Australia, which has experienced a long drought and exhibited noticeable hydrological nonstationarity. The results show that robust multicriteria calibration based on the Pareto front can provide a more consistent model performance over contrasting hydroclimate conditions, but at a slight expense of increased bias over the entire historical period compared to the traditional approach. However, the robust calibration does not necessarily result in a more reliable projection of future runoff. This is because the systematic bias in any parameterization approach would propagate from the historical period to the future period and would largely be cancelled out when estimating the relative runoff change. Ensemble simulations combining results from different parameterization considerations could produce a more inclusive range of future runoff projection as it covers the uncertainties due to model parameterization.

Open access
Xiong Zhou
,
Guohe Huang
,
Yurui Fan
,
Xiuquan Wang
, and
Yongping Li

Abstract

Long-term hydrological projections can vary substantially depending on the combination of meteorological forcing dataset, hydrologic model (HM), emissions scenario, and natural climate variability. Identifying dominant sources of model spread in an ensemble of hydrologic projections is critically important for developing reliable hydrological projections in support of flooding risk assessment and water resources management; however, it is not well understood due to the multifactor and multiscale complexities involved in the long-term hydrological projections. Therefore, a stepwise clustered Bayesian (SCB) ensemble method will be first developed to improve the performance of long-term hydrological projections. Meanwhile, a mixed-level factorial inference (MLFI) approach is employed to estimate multiple uncertainties in hydrological projections over the Jing River basin (JRB). MLFI is able to reveal the main and interactive effects of the anthropogenic emission and model choices on the SCB ensemble projections. The results suggest that the daily maximum temperature under RCP8.5 in the 2050s and 2080s is expected to respectively increase by 3.2° and 5.2°C, which are much higher than the increases under RCP4.5. The maximum increase of the RegCM driven by CanESM2 (CARM)-projected changes in streamflow for the 2050s and 2080s under RCP4.5 is 0.30 and 0.59 × 103 m s−3 in November, respectively. In addition, in a multimodel GCM–RCM–HM ensemble, hydroclimate is found to be most sensitive to the choice of GCM. Moreover, it is revealed that the percentage of contribution of anthropogenic emissions to the changes in monthly precipitation is relatively smaller, but it makes a more significant contribution to the total variance of changes in potential evapotranspiration and streamflow.

Significance Statement

Increasing concerns have been paid to climate change due to its aggravating impacts on the hydrologic regime, leading to water-related disasters. Such impacts can be investigated through long-term hydrological projection under climate change. However, it is not well understood what factor plays a dominant role in inducing extensive uncertainties associated with the long-term hydrological projections due to plausible meteorological forcings, multiple hydrologic models, and internal variability. The stepwise cluster Bayesian ensemble method and mixed-level factorial inference approach are employed to quantify the contribution of multiple uncertainty sources. We find that the total variance of changes in monthly precipitation, potential evapotranspiration, and streamflow can be mainly explained by the model choices. The identified dominant factor accounting for projection uncertainties is critically important for developing reliable hydrological projections in support of flooding risk assessment and water resources management. It is suggested that more reliable models should be taken into consideration in order to improve the projection robustness from a perspective of the Loess Plateau.

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Tzu-Ying Yang
,
Cho-Ying Huang
,
Jehn-Yih Juang
,
Yi-Ying Chen
,
Chao-Tzuen Cheng
, and
Min-Hui Lo

Abstract

Fog plays a vital role in maintaining ecosystems in montane cloud forests. In these forests, a large amount of water on the surface of leaves and canopy (hereafter canopy water) evaporates during the morning. This biophysical process plays a critical factor in regulating afternoon fog formation. Recent studies have found that alterations in precipitation, temperature, humidity, and CO2 concentrations associated with future climate changes may affect terrestrial hydroclimatology, but the responses in cloud forests remain unclear. Utilizing numerical experiments with the Community Land Model, we explored changes in surface evaporative fluxes in Chi-Lan Mountain cloud forests in northeastern Taiwan under the RCP8.5 scenario with changes in the aforementioned various atmospheric variables. The results showed that increased rainfall intensity in climate change runs decreased the accumulation of canopy water, while larger water vapor concentrations led to more nighttime condensation on leaves. Elevated CO2 concentrations did not greatly impact canopy water amounts, but photosynthesis was enhanced, while transpiration was reduced and contributed to decreased latent heat fluxes, implying the importance of forest plant physiology in modulating land evaporative fluxes. Evapotranspiration decreased in Chi-Lan due to multiple combined factors, in contrast to the expected intensification in the global water cycle under global warming. The study, however, is restricted to an offline land surface model without land–atmosphere interactions and the interactions with adjacent grids, which deserves further analyses for the water cycle changes in the montane cloud forest regions.

Open access
Benjamin Krichman
,
Srinivas Bettadpur
, and
Tatyana Pekker

Abstract

GRACE and GRACE Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission data are utilized to assess mass flux derived from the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) and the NLDAS-2 Noah land surface model via multiple water balance formulations. Water balances are computed for 18 medium size basins in North America at the USGS Watershed Boundary Dataset HU2 level over the span of the GRACE and GRACE-FO missions (2002–21). Performance of model-derived mass flux is presented in the context of statistical agreement to changes in terrestrial water storage (ΔTWS) derived from Center for Space Research (CSR) GRACE RL06 mass concentrations (mascons), and GRACE and NARR uncertainty is estimated against comparable datasets. The land surface water balance method utilizing NLDAS-2 Noah consistently outperforms the total column method utilizing NARR, which is likely due to enhanced precipitation forcing and an updated Noah model version used in NLDAS-2. The surface approach to the calculation of atmospheric moisture flux divergence is carried through the presented analyses and is demonstrated to be comparable in performance to the more common volume approach. Mass balance methodology, basin characteristics, and ΔTWS signal characteristics are assessed to quantify effects on model performance and while factors such as basin size, basin average topography gradient, and ΔTWS annual amplitude are shown to have a measurable effect on model performance, no single factor exhibited a dominant or consistent effect. Drought conditions are shown to have a significant temporally localized effect on model-derived mass flux accuracy, with NARR being particularly susceptible to this effect.

Significance Statement

Measurements of Earth’s gravity field from the GRACE and GRACE-FO satellite missions are utilized to create estimates of water storage changes in 18 North American river basins that are compared to changes in water storage calculated from an atmospheric model reanalysis (NARR) and a land surface model (NLDAS-2 Noah). The resulting comparison demonstrates that certain basin characteristics can have a slight effect on model accuracy, while climatic conditions such as drought can have a major impact on model accuracy. This work provides useful quantification of when and where modeled water transport loses accuracy, which is integral to our understanding of the present and future distribution of this crucial resource and the natural processes that affect it.

Open access
Huibin Gao
,
Qin Ju
,
Peng Jiang
,
Wenming Yan
,
Wei Wang
,
Xiaolei Fu
, and
Zhenchun Hao

Abstract

Shallow groundwater evaporation (Eg ) is a major component of the hydrological cycle, especially in semiarid and arid locations. Empirical methods are commonly used to estimate Eg . However, most of these methods can only weakly represent Eg variations along the soil depth and do not consider the energy driver. In this paper, a temperature coefficient was proposed and incorporated into two preferred empirical models to characterize the impacts of soil temperature and air temperature lags on Eg . The method was evaluated using in situ daily data obtained from nonweighing bare soil lysimeters. The results indicated that the models that considered the temperature gradient variable (T) conformed to the changes in the actual Eg values with depth more appropriately than the original models, accompanied by 4.3%–8.8% accuracy improvements overall. Shallow groundwater evaporation Eg was found to be influenced by the water table depth (H), T, and pan evaporation (E 0) in descending order, and strong interactions were found between H and T. Moreover, the impact of precipitation on Eg was investigated; measurements from dry days without precipitation revealed the actual Eg process, the relative errors in the cumulative Eg values derived at different depths demonstrated a positive relationship with infiltration recharge, and the errors related to precipitation induced 6.7%–8.3% Eg underestimations. These results contribute to a better understanding of evaporative losses from shallow groundwater and the typical Eg situation that occurs simultaneously with recharge, and they provide promising perspectives for corresponding integrated hydrologic modeling research.

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G. Cristina Recalde-Coronel
,
Benjamin Zaitchik
,
William Pan
, and
Augusto Getirana

Abstract

Land surface models (LSMs) rely on vegetation parameters for use in hydrological and energy balance analysis, monitoring, and forecasting. This study examines the influence that vegetation representation in the Noah-Multiparameterization (Noah-MP) LSM has on hydrological simulations across the diverse climate zones of western tropical South America (WTSA), with specific consideration of hydrological variability associated with El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The influence of model representation of vegetation on simulated hydrology is evaluated through three simulation experiments that use 1) satellite-derived constant MODIS; 2) satellite-derived time-varying MODIS; and 3) the Noah-MP dynamic leaf model. We find substantial differences in vegetation fields between these simulations, with the Noah-MP dynamic leaf model diverging significantly from satellite-derived vegetation fields in many ecoregions. Impacts on simulated hydrology were, however, found to be modest across climate zones, except for select extreme events. Also, although impacts on hydrology under ENSO-induced variability were small, we find that the Noah-MP dynamic leaf model simulates a positive relationship between rainfall and vegetation in humid ecoregions of WTSA, where satellite observations may indicate the opposite. The relatively small sensitivity of simulated hydrology to vegetation scheme suggests that the performance of hydrological monitoring and forecasting in WTSA that uses Noah-MP is largely unaffected by the choice of vegetation scheme, such that using a simple climatological default is generally no worse than adopting more complicated options. The presence of some differences between the time-varying and constant MODIS simulations for hydrologic extremes, however, indicates that time-varying MODIS configuration might be more suitable for hydrological hazards applications.

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Randal D. Koster
,
Anthony M. DeAngelis
,
Qing Liu
,
Siegfried D. Schubert
, and
Andrea M. Molod

Abstract

Past work has shown that a land surface model’s (LSM) implicit (not explicitly coded) relationships between soil moisture and both evapotranspiration (ET) and runoff largely determine the LSM’s hydrological behavior. Here we estimate the relationships that appear to be operating in the real world and compare them to those of the LSM component of a state-of-the-art Earth system model (ESM). The two sets of relationships are determined by calibrating them within a simple water balance model (WBM): once using stream gauge observations from small, unregulated rivers over the eastern half of the United States, and once using the runoffs generated by the LSM as part of a state-of-the-art atmospheric reanalysis. Hydrological simulations and subseasonal hydrological forecasts performed with the two calibrated versions of the WBM provide two key results. First, the version calibrated to the LSM-generated runoffs does successfully reproduce, to first order, the hydrological behavior of the full LSM within its ESM environment. Second, of the two WBM versions, the one calibrated to the observations reproduces more accurately a broad collection of fully independent streamflow observations as well as a similarly broad collection of in situ soil moisture measurements. Taken together, the two results suggest that the observations-calibrated ET and runoff efficiency functions do successfully represent, at least to some degree, soil moisture controls over hydrological variability in nature and can serve as potentially useful targets for further LSM development.

Significance Statement

For all their complexity, and for all the work that underlies their development, the land surface model components of Earth system models may be suboptimal in fundamental yet unstudied ways. Here we estimate how the joint control of soil moisture over evapotranspiration and runoff processes in nature differs from that built implicitly into a state-of-the-art land model. Validation exercises demonstrate how this difference appears to lead to reduced accuracy in the land model’s simulation and forecasting of such hydrological variables as streamflow and soil moisture. Our results indicate that the relationships estimated for nature could serve as a potentially valuable target for further land model development.

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Carlos H. R. Lima
,
Hyun-Han Kwon
, and
Ho Jun Kim

Abstract

We introduce two variants of canonical correlation analysis (CCA) for model output statistics of GCM forecasts of daily rainfall. These approaches link the coarse-gridded GCM forecasts with the reference field through a projection onto highly correlated basis vectors to address the recurrent errors in daily rainfall forecasts due to spatial bias and subgrid variability. The first model, namely, sparse CCA (SCCA), includes the sparsity feature into the ordinary CCA to provide a reduced number of canonical coefficients. The second model (B-SCCA) employs the bagging approach to reduce the variance in the predictions due to the sample variability in the derived canonical series. The models are tested using simulated data imposed with a strong spatial bias, and then using subseasonal rainfall forecasts provided by the NASA GMAO GEOS model under the SubX project, as well as gridded rainfall data (MSWEP product) for the region of South Korea. A linear regression model is chosen as the baseline postprocessing algorithm and ordinary CCA is also evaluated against the proposed models. As for the simulated data, the SCCA model confirms its ability to address spatial bias in forecast fields compared with the baseline model. For the actual forecasts, the leading improvements of SCCA and B-SCCA over the baseline model are for the S 1 skill score, suggesting that these models offer a relative gain in reproducing the spatial gradient of the reference rainfall field, which is relevant in hydrological applications that require a sound representation of spatial variability. Our results also highlight the importance of prefiltering the input data before applying CCA in such settings.

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