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  • Author or Editor: Marco Carrera x
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Deepti Joshi
,
Marco Carrera
,
Stephane Bélair
, and
Sylvie Leroyer

Abstract

There are numerous water features on the Canadian landscapes that are not monitored. Specifically, there are water bodies over the prairies and Canadian shield regions of North America that are ephemeral in nature and could have a significant influence on convective storm generation and local weather patterns through turbulent exchanges of sensible and latent heat between the land and the atmosphere. In this study a series of numerical experiments is performed with Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Global Environmental Multiscale (GEM) model at 2.5-km grid spacing to examine the sensitivity of the atmospheric boundary layer and the resulting precipitation to the presence of open water bodies. Operationally, the land–water fraction in GEM is specified by means of static geophysical databases that do not change with time. Uncertainty is introduced in this study into this land–water fraction and the sensitivity of the resulting precipitation is quantified for a convective precipitation event occurring over the Canadian Prairies in the summer of 2014. The results indicate that with an increase in open water bodies, accumulated precipitation, peak precipitation amounts, and intensities decrease. Moreover, shifts are seen in times of peak for both precipitation amounts and intensities, in the order of increasing wetness. Additionally, with an increase in open water bodies, convective available potential energy decreases and convective inhibition increases, indicating suppression of forcing for convective precipitation.

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Marco L. Carrera
,
Stéphane Bélair
, and
Bernard Bilodeau

Abstract

The Canadian Land Data Assimilation System (CaLDAS) has been developed at the Meteorological Research Division of Environment Canada (EC) to better represent the land surface initial states in environmental prediction and assimilation systems. CaLDAS is built around an external land surface modeling system and uses the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) methodology. A unique feature of CaLDAS is the use of improved precipitation forcing through the assimilation of precipitation observations. An ensemble of precipitation analyses is generated by combining numerical weather prediction (NWP) model precipitation forecasts with precipitation observations. Spatial phasing errors to the NWP first-guess precipitation forecasts are more effective than perturbations to the precipitation observations in decreasing (increasing) the exceedance ratio (uncertainty ratio) scores and generating flatter, more reliable ranked histograms. CaLDAS has been configured to assimilate L-band microwave brightness temperature TB by coupling the land surface model with a microwave radiative transfer model. A continental-scale synthetic experiment assimilating passive L-band TBs for an entire warm season is performed over North America. Ensemble metric scores are used to quantify the impact of different atmospheric forcing uncertainties on soil moisture and TB ensemble spread. The use of an ensemble of precipitation analyses, generated by assimilating precipitation observations, as forcing combined with the assimilation of L-band TBs gave rise to the largest improvements in superficial soil moisture scores and to a more rapid reduction of the root-zone soil moisture errors. Innovation diagnostics show that the EnKF is able to maintain a sufficient forecast error spread through time, while soil moisture estimation error improvements with increasing ensemble size were limited.

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Camille Garnaud
,
Stéphane Bélair
,
Marco L. Carrera
,
Heather McNairn
, and
Anna Pacheco

Abstract

Although soil moisture is an essential variable within the Earth system and has been extensively investigated, there is still a limited understanding of its spatiotemporal distribution and variability. Thus, the objective of this study is to attempt to reproduce the spatial variability of soil moisture and brightness temperature as measured by point-based and airborne remote sensing measurements. To do so, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Surface Prediction System (SPS) is run at very high resolution (100 m) over a region of Manitoba (Canada) where an extensive soil moisture experiment took place in the summer of 2012 [SMAP Validation Experiment 2012 (SMAPVEX12)]. Results show that realistic finescale soil texture improves the quality of SPS outputs. Soil moisture spatial average evolution in time is well simulated by SPS. Simulated spatial variability is underestimated when compared to point-based measurements, although results are improved when examined domainwide versus comparisons using grid points corresponding to measurement sites. SPS brightness temperature fields compare well with remote sensing data in terms of spatial variability. It is shown that during drier periods, factors other than soil texture become important with respect to soil moisture spatial variability. However, during periods with plenty of precipitation, soil texture seems essential in improving simulated soil moisture spatial variability at high resolutions. These results support the conclusion that SPS could provide very high–resolution soil moisture products for research and operational purposes if high-resolution soil texture and vegetation products are made available on a larger scale.

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Marco L. Carrera
,
Bernard Bilodeau
,
Stéphane Bélair
,
Maria Abrahamowicz
,
Albert Russell
, and
Xihong Wang

Abstract

This study examines the impacts of assimilating Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) L-band brightness temperatures (TBs) on warm season short-range numerical weather prediction (NWP) forecasts. Focusing upon the summer 2015 period over North America, offline assimilation cycles are run with the Canadian Land Data Assimilation System (CaLDAS) to compare the impacts of assimilating SMAP TB versus screen-level observations to analyze soil moisture. The analyzed soil moistures are quantitatively compared against a set of in situ sparse soil moisture networks and a set of SMAP core validation sites. These surface analyses are used to initialize a series of 48-h forecasts where near-surface temperature and precipitation are evaluated against in situ observations. Assimilation of SMAP TBs leads to soil moisture that is markedly improved in terms of correlation and standard deviation of the errors (STDE) compared to the use of screen-level observations. NWP forecasts initialized with SMAP-derived soil moistures exhibit a general dry bias in 2-m dewpoint temperatures (TD2m), while displaying a relative warm bias in 2-m temperatures (TT2m), when compared to those forecasts initialized with soil moistures analyzed with screen-level temperature errors. Largest impacts with SMAP are seen for TD2m, where the use of screen-level observations leads to a daytime wet bias that is reduced with SMAP. The overall drier soil moisture leads to improved precipitation bias scores with SMAP. A notable deterioration in TD2m STDE scores was found in the SMAP experiments during the daytime over the Northern Great Plains. A reduction in the daytime TD2m wet bias was found when the observation errors for the screen-level observations were increased.

Open access
Marco L. Carrera
,
Stéphane Bélair
,
Vincent Fortin
,
Bernard Bilodeau
,
Dorothée Charpentier
, and
Isabelle Doré

Abstract

To improve the representation of the land surface in their operational numerical weather prediction (NWP) models, the Meteorological Research Division of Environment Canada (EC) is developing an external hydrometeorological modeling and data assimilation system. The objective of this study is to verify the improvement in simulating snow cover extent (SCE) and snow water equivalent (SWE) over the Canadian Rockies with this new modeling system. This study will be an important first step in determining the optimal configuration of the land surface model and atmospheric forcing for a future operational implementation. Simulated SCE is compared with the Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS) analysis, while simulated SWE values are verified against a series of manual snow survey sites located within the Canadian Rockies. Results show that land surface model simulations of SCE and SWE were sensitive to precipitation forcing. Simulations at both low and high resolution forced with EC’s experimental precipitation analysis were found to underestimate SCE and SWE values. Mountain snowpack retreated too early during the spring melt period. Precipitation forcing derived from EC’s short-range NWP model resulted in improved values for both SCE and SWE, which also contributed to higher contributions to streamflow. Terrain adjusting the atmospheric forcing data was found to be important for properly modeling local extreme SWE values. A comparison with available precipitation observations over the Canadian Rockies region found EC’s experimental precipitation analysis to possess a negative precipitation bias that increases with increasing elevation.

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Kingtse C. Mo
,
Muthuvel Chelliah
,
Marco L. Carrera
,
R. Wayne Higgins
, and
Wesley Ebisuzaki

Abstract

The large-scale atmospheric hydrologic cycle over the United States and Mexico derived from the 23-yr NCEP regional reanalysis (RR) was evaluated by comparing the RR products with satellite estimates, independent sounding data, and the operational Eta Model three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3DVAR) system (EDAS).

In general, the winter atmospheric transport and precipitation are realistic. The climatology and interannual variability of the Pacific, subtropical jet streams, and low-tropospheric moisture transport are well captured. During the summer season, the basic features and the evolution of the North American monsoon (NAM) revealed by the RR compare favorably with observations. The RR also captures the out-of-phase relationship of precipitation as well as the moisture flux convergence between the central United States and the Southwest. The RR is able to capture the zonal easterly Caribbean low-level jet (CALLJ) and the meridional southerly Great Plains low-level jet (GPLLJ). Together, they transport copious moisture from the Caribbean to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Plains, respectively. The RR systematically overestimates the meridional southerly Gulf of California low-level jet (GCLLJ). A comparison with observations suggests that the meridional winds from the RR are too strong, with the largest differences centered over the northern Gulf of California. The strongest winds over the Gulf in the RR extend above 700 hPa, while the operational EDAS and station soundings indicate that the GCLLJ is confined to the boundary layer.

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Camille Garnaud
,
Stéphane Bélair
,
Marco L. Carrera
,
Chris Derksen
,
Bernard Bilodeau
,
Maria Abrahamowicz
,
Nathalie Gauthier
, and
Vincent Vionnet

Abstract

Because of its location, Canada is particularly affected by snow processes and their impact on the atmosphere and hydrosphere. Yet, snow mass observations that are ongoing, global, frequent (1–5 days), and at high enough spatial resolution (kilometer scale) for assimilation within operational prediction systems are presently not available. Recently, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) partnered with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to initiate a radar-focused snow mission concept study to define spaceborne technological solutions to this observational gap. In this context, an Observing System Simulation Experiment (OSSE) was performed to determine the impact of sensor configuration, snow water equivalent (SWE) retrieval performance, and snow wet/dry state on snow analyses from the Canadian Land Data Assimilation System (CaLDAS). The synthetic experiment shows that snow analyses are strongly sensitive to revisit frequency since more frequent assimilation leads to a more constrained land surface model. The greatest reduction in spatial (temporal) bias is from a 1-day revisit frequency with a 91% (93%) improvement. Temporal standard deviation of the error (STDE) is mostly reduced by a greater retrieval accuracy with a 65% improvement, while a 1-day revisit reduces the temporal STDE by 66%. The inability to detect SWE under wet snow conditions is particularly impactful during the spring meltdown, with an increase in spatial RMSE of up to 50 mm. Wet snow does not affect the domain-wide annual maximum SWE nor the timing of end-of-season snowmelt timing in this case, indicating that radar measurements, although uncertain during melting events, are very useful in adding skill to snow analyses.

Open access
Nasim Alavi
,
Stéphane Bélair
,
Vincent Fortin
,
Shunli Zhang
,
Syed Z. Husain
,
Marco L. Carrera
, and
Maria Abrahamowicz

Abstract

A new land surface scheme has been developed at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) to provide surface fluxes of momentum, heat, and moisture for the Global Environmental Multiscale (GEM) atmospheric model. In this study, the performance of the Soil, Vegetation, and Snow (SVS) scheme in estimating the surface and root-zone soil moisture is evaluated against the Interactions between Soil, Biosphere, and Atmosphere (ISBA) scheme currently used operationally at ECCC within GEM for numerical weather prediction. In addition, the sensitivity of SVS soil moisture results to soil texture and vegetation data sources (type and fractional coverage) has been explored. The performance of SVS and ISBA was assessed against a large set of in situ observations as well as the brightness temperature data from the Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite over North America. The results indicate that SVS estimates the time evolution of soil moisture more accurately, and compared to ISBA, results in higher correlations with observations and reduced errors. The sensitivity tests carried out during this study revealed that the SVS soil moisture results are not affected significantly by the soil texture data from different sources. The vegetation data source, however, has a major impact on the soil moisture results predicted by SVS, and accurate specification of vegetation characteristics is therefore crucial for accurate soil moisture prediction.

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Syed Zahid Husain
,
Nasim Alavi
,
Stéphane Bélair
,
Marco Carrera
,
Shunli Zhang
,
Vincent Fortin
,
Maria Abrahamowicz
, and
Nathalie Gauthier

Abstract

A new land surface parameterization scheme, named the Soil, Vegetation, and Snow (SVS) scheme, was recently developed at Environment and Climate Change Canada to replace the operationally used Interactions between Soil, Biosphere, and Atmosphere (ISBA) scheme. The new scheme is designed to address a number of weaknesses and limitations of ISBA that have been identified over the last decade. Unlike ISBA, which calculates a single energy budget for the different land surface components, SVS introduces a new tiling approach that includes separate energy budgets for bare ground, vegetation, and two different snowpacks (over bare ground and low vegetation and under high vegetation). The inclusion of a photosynthesis module as an option to determine the surface stomatal resistance is another significant addition in SVS. The representation of vertical water transport through soil has also been substantially improved in SVS with the introduction of multiple soil layers. Overall, offline simulations conducted in the present study demonstrated clear improvements in warm season meteorological predictions with SVS compared to the ISBA scheme. The results also revealed considerable reduction of standard error in the SVS-predicted L-band brightness temperature. This demonstrates the scheme’s ability for better hydrological prediction and its potential for providing more accurate soil moisture analysis. The impact of the photosynthesis module within the current implementation of SVS is, however, found to be negligible on near-surface meteorological prediction and slightly negative for brightness temperature.

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