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Donghai Zheng, Rogier van der Velde, Zhongbo Su, Martijn J. Booij, Arjen Y. Hoekstra, and Jun Wen

ABSTRACT

Current land surface models still have difficulties with producing reliable surface heat fluxes and skin temperature (T sfc) estimates for high-altitude regions, which may be addressed via adequate parameterization of the roughness lengths for momentum (z 0m) and heat (z 0h) transfer. In this study, the performance of various z 0h and z 0m schemes developed for the Noah land surface model is assessed for a high-altitude site (3430 m) on the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau. Based on the in situ surface heat fluxes and profile measurements of wind and temperature, monthly variations of z 0m and diurnal variations of z 0h are derived through application of the Monin–Obukhov similarity theory. These derived values together with the measured heat fluxes are utilized to assess the performance of those z 0m and z 0h schemes for different seasons. The analyses show that the z 0m dynamics are related to vegetation dynamics and soil water freeze–thaw state, which are reproduced satisfactorily with current z 0m schemes. Further, it is demonstrated that the heat flux simulations are very sensitive to the diurnal variations of z 0h. The newly developed z 0h schemes all capture, at least over the sparse vegetated surfaces during the winter season, the observed diurnal variability much better than the original one. It should, however, be noted that for the dense vegetated surfaces during the spring and monsoon seasons, not all newly developed schemes perform consistently better than the original one. With the most promising schemes, the Noah simulated sensible heat flux, latent heat flux, T sfc, and soil temperature improved for the monsoon season by about 29%, 79%, 75%, and 81%, respectively. In addition, the impact of T sfc calculation and energy balance closure associated with measurement uncertainties on the above findings are discussed, and the selection of the appropriate z 0h scheme for applications is addressed.

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Donghai Zheng, Rogier van der Velde, Zhongbo Su, Xin Wang, Jun Wen, Martijn J. Booij, Arjen Y. Hoekstra, and Yingying Chen

Abstract

This is the first part of a study focusing on evaluating the performance of the Noah land surface model (LSM) in simulating surface water and energy budgets for the high-elevation source region of the Yellow River (SRYR). A comprehensive dataset is utilized that includes in situ micrometeorological and profile soil moisture and temperature measurements as well as laboratory soil property measurements of samples collected across the SRYR. Here, the simulation of soil water flow is investigated, while Part II concentrates on the surface heat flux and soil temperature simulations. Three augmentations are proposed: 1) to include the effect of organic matter on soil hydraulic parameterization via the additivity hypothesis, 2) to implement the saturated hydraulic conductivity as an exponentially decaying function with soil depth, and 3) to modify the vertical root distribution to represent the Tibetan conditions characterized by an abundance of roots in the topsoil. The diffusivity form of Richards’ equation is further revised to allow for the simulation of soil water flow across soil layers with different hydraulic properties. Usage of organic matter for calculating the porosity and soil suction improves the agreement between the estimates and laboratory measurements, and the exponential function together with the Kozeny–Carman equation best describes the in situ . Through implementation of the modified hydraulic parameterization alone, the soil moisture underestimation in the upper soil layer under wet conditions is resolved, while the soil moisture profile dynamics are better captured by also including the modified root distribution.

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Donghai Zheng, Rogier van der Velde, Zhongbo Su, Xin Wang, Jun Wen, Martijn J. Booij, Arjen Y. Hoekstra, and Yingying Chen

Abstract

This is the second part of a study on the assessment of the Noah land surface model (LSM) in simulating surface water and energy budgets in the high-elevation source region of the Yellow River. Here, there is a focus on turbulent heat fluxes and heat transport through the soil column during the monsoon season, whereas the first part of this study deals with the soil water flow. Four augmentations are studied for mitigating the overestimation of turbulent heat flux and underestimation of soil temperature measurements: 1) the muting effect of vegetation on the thermal heat conductivity is removed from the transport of heat from the first to the second soil layer, 2) the exponential decay factor imposed on is calculated using the ratio of the leaf area index (LAI) over the green vegetation fraction (GVF), 3) Zilitinkevich’s empirical coefficient for turbulent heat transport is computed as a function of the momentum roughness length , and 4) the impact of organic matter is considered in the parameterization of the thermal heat properties. Although usage of organic matter for calculating improves the correspondence between the estimates and laboratory measurements of heat conductivities, it is shown to have a relatively small impact on the Noah LSM performance even for large organic matter contents. In contrast, the removal of the muting effect of vegetation on and the parameterization of greatly enhances the soil temperature profile simulations, whereas turbulent heat flux and surface temperature computations mostly benefit from the modified formulation. Further, the nighttime surface temperature overestimation is resolved from a coupled land–atmosphere perspective.

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Li Fang, Xiwu Zhan, Jifu Yin, Jicheng Liu, Mitchell Schull, Jeffrey P. Walker, Jun Wen, Michael H. Cosh, Tarendra Lakhankar, Chandra Holifield Collins, David D. Bosch, and Patrick J. Starks

Abstract

In the past decade, a variety of algorithms have been introduced to downscale passive microwave soil moisture observations. Some exploit the soil moisture information from optical/thermal sensing of land surface temperature (LST) and vegetation dynamics while others use active microwave (radar) observations. In this study, downscaled soil moisture data at 9- or 1-km resolution from several algorithms are intercompared against in situ soil moisture measurements to determine their reliability in an operational system. The finescale satellite data used here for downscaling the coarse-scale SMAP data are observations of LST from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) and vegetation index (VI) from the NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) for the warm seasons in 2015 and 2016. Three recently developed downscaling algorithms are evaluated and compared: a simple regression algorithm based on 9-km thermal inertial data, a data mining approach called regression tree based on 9- and 1-km LST and VI, and the NASA SMAP enhanced 9-km soil moisture product algorithm. Seven sets of in situ soil moisture data from intensive networks were used for validation, including 1) the CREST-SMART network in Millbrook, New York; 2) Walnut Gulch Watershed in Arizona; 3) Little Washita Watershed in Oklahoma; 4) Fort Cobb Reservoir Experimental Watersheds in Oklahoma; 5) Little River Watershed in Georgia; 6) the Tibetan Plateau network in China, and 7) the OzNet in Australia. Soil moisture measurements of the in situ networks were upscaled to the corresponding SMAP reference pixels at 9 km and used to assess the accuracy of downscaled products at a 9-km scale. Results revealed that the downscaled 9-km soil moisture products generally outperform the 36-km product for most in situ datasets. The linear regression algorithm using the thermal sensing based evaporative stress index (ESI) had the best agreement with the in situ measurements from networks in the contiguous United States according to the site-by-site comparison. In addition, the inertial thermal linear regression method demonstrated the lowest unbiased RMSE when comparing to the matched-up in situ datasets as well. In general, this method is promising for operational generation of fine-resolution soil moisture data product.

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David J. Stensrud, Nusrat Yussouf, Michael E. Baldwin, Jeffery T. McQueen, Jun Du, Binbin Zhou, Brad Ferrier, Geoffrey Manikin, F. Martin Ralph, James M. Wilczak, Allen B. White, Irina Djlalova, Jian-Wen Bao, Robert J. Zamora, Stanley G. Benjamin, Patricia A. Miller, Tracy Lorraine Smith, Tanya Smirnova, and Michael F. Barth

The New England High-Resolution Temperature Program seeks to improve the accuracy of summertime 2-m temperature and dewpoint temperature forecasts in the New England region through a collaborative effort between the research and operational components of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The four main components of this program are 1) improved surface and boundary layer observations for model initialization, 2) special observations for the assessment and improvement of model physical process parameterization schemes, 3) using model forecast ensemble data to improve upon the operational forecasts for near-surface variables, and 4) transfering knowledge gained to commercial weather services and end users. Since 2002 this program has enhanced surface temperature observations by adding 70 new automated Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) sites, identified and collected data from over 1000 non-NOAA mesonet sites, and deployed boundary layer profilers and other special instrumentation throughout the New England region to better observe the surface energy budget. Comparisons of these special datasets with numerical model forecasts indicate that near-surface temperature errors are strongly correlated to errors in the model-predicted radiation fields. The attenuation of solar radiation by aerosols is one potential source of the model radiation bias. However, even with these model errors, results from bias-corrected ensemble forecasts are more accurate than the operational model output statistics (MOS) forecasts for 2-m temperature and dewpoint temperature, while also providing reliable forecast probabilities. Discussions with commerical weather vendors and end users have emphasized the potential economic value of these probabilistic ensemble-generated forecasts.

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