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  • Author or Editor: R. E. Dickinson x
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Hua Su
,
Robert E. Dickinson
,
Kirsten L. Findell
, and
Benjamin R. Lintner

Abstract

The response of the warm-season atmosphere to antecedent snow anomalies has long been an area of study. This paper explores how the spring snow depth relates to subsequent precipitation in central Canada using ground observations, reanalysis datasets, and offline land surface model estimates. After removal of low-frequency ocean influences, April snow depth is found to correlate negatively with early warm-season (May–June) precipitation across a large portion of the study area. A chain of mechanisms is hypothesized to account for this observed negative relation: 1) a snow depth anomaly leads to a soil moisture anomaly, 2) the subsequent soil moisture anomaly affects ground turbulent fluxes, and 3) the atmospheric vertical structure allows dry soil to promote local convection. A detailed analysis supports this chain of mechanisms for those portions of the domain manifesting a statistically significant negative snow–precipitation correlation. For a portion of the study area, large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns also affect the early warm-season rainfall, indicating that the snow–precipitation feedback may depend on large-scale atmospheric dynamical features. This analysis suggests that spring snow conditions can contribute to warm-season precipitation predictability on a subseasonal to seasonal scale, but that the strength of such predictability varies geographically as it depends on the interplay of hydroclimatological conditions across multiple spatial scales.

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Z. Wang
,
X. Zeng
,
M. Barlage
,
R. E. Dickinson
,
F. Gao
, and
C. B. Schaaf

Abstract

The land surface albedo in the NCAR Community Climate System Model (CCSM2) is calculated based on a two-stream approximation, which does not include the effect of three-dimensional vegetation structure on radiative transfer. The model albedo (including monthly averaged albedo, direct albedo at local noon, and the solar zenith angle dependence of albedo) is evaluated using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) and albedo data acquired during July 2001–July 2002. The model monthly averaged albedos in February and July are close to the MODIS white-sky albedos (within 0.02 or statistically insignificant) over about 40% of the global land between 60°S and 70°N. However, CCSM2 significantly underestimates albedo by 0.05 or more over deserts (e.g., the Sahara Desert) and some semiarid regions (e.g., parts of Australia). The difference between the model direct albedo at local noon and the MODIS black-sky albedo for the near-infrared (NIR) band (with wavelength > 0.7 μm) is larger than the difference for the visible band (with wavelength < 0.7 μm) for most snow-free regions. For eleven model grid cells with different dominant plant functional types, the model diffuse NIR albedo is higher by 0.05 or more than the MODIS white-sky albedo in five of these cells. Direct albedos from the model and MODIS (as computed using the BRDF parameters) increase with solar zenith angles, but model albedo increases faster than the MODIS data. These analyses and the MODIS BRDF and albedo data provide a starting point toward developing a BRDF-based treatment of radiative transfer through a canopy for land surface models that can realistically simulate the mean albedo and the solar zenith angle dependence of albedo.

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A. G. Slater
,
C. A. Schlosser
,
C. E. Desborough
,
A. J. Pitman
,
A. Henderson-Sellers
,
A. Robock
,
K. Ya Vinnikov
,
J. Entin
,
K. Mitchell
,
F. Chen
,
A. Boone
,
P. Etchevers
,
F. Habets
,
J. Noilhan
,
H. Braden
,
P. M. Cox
,
P. de Rosnay
,
R. E. Dickinson
,
Z-L. Yang
,
Y-J. Dai
,
Q. Zeng
,
Q. Duan
,
V. Koren
,
S. Schaake
,
N. Gedney
,
Ye M. Gusev
,
O. N. Nasonova
,
J. Kim
,
E. A. Kowalczyk
,
A. B. Shmakin
,
T. G. Smirnova
,
D. Verseghy
,
P. Wetzel
, and
Y. Xue

Abstract

Twenty-one land surface schemes (LSSs) performed simulations forced by 18 yr of observed meteorological data from a grassland catchment at Valdai, Russia, as part of the Project for the Intercomparison of Land-Surface Parameterization Schemes (PILPS) Phase 2(d). In this paper the authors examine the simulation of snow. In comparison with observations, the models are able to capture the broad features of the snow regime on both an intra- and interannual basis. However, weaknesses in the simulations exist, and early season ablation events are a significant source of model scatter. Over the 18-yr simulation, systematic differences between the models’ snow simulations are evident and reveal specific aspects of snow model parameterization and design as being responsible. Vapor exchange at the snow surface varies widely among the models, ranging from a large net loss to a small net source for the snow season. Snow albedo, fractional snow cover, and their interplay have a large effect on energy available for ablation, with differences among models most evident at low snow depths. The incorporation of the snowpack within an LSS structure affects the method by which snow accesses, as well as utilizes, available energy for ablation. The sensitivity of some models to longwave radiation, the dominant winter radiative flux, is partly due to a stability-induced feedback and the differing abilities of models to exchange turbulent energy with the atmosphere. Results presented in this paper suggest where weaknesses in macroscale snow modeling lie and where both theoretical and observational work should be focused to address these weaknesses.

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