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Sietse O. Los, G. James Collatz, Lahouari Bounoua, Piers J. Sellers, and Compton J. Tucker

Abstract

Anomalies in global vegetation greenness, SST, land surface air temperature, and precipitation exhibit linked, low-frequency interannual variations. These interannual variations were detected and analyzed for 1982–90 with a multivariate spectral method. The two most dominant signals for 1982–90 had periods of about 2.6 and 3.4 yr. Signals centered at 2.6 years per cycle corresponded to variations in the El Niño–Southern Oscillation index and explained about 28% of the variance in anomalies of SST, land surface air temperature, precipitation, and vegetation; these signals were most pronounced in 1) SST anomalies in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, 2) land surface vegetation and precipitation anomalies in tropical and subtropical regions, and 3) land surface vegetation, precipitation, and temperature anomalies in North America. Signals at 3.4 years per cycle corresponded to variations in the North Atlantic oscillation index and explained 8.6% of the variance in the combined datasets; their occurrence was most pronounced in 1) Atlantic SST anomalies, 2) in land surface temperature and vegetation anomalies in Europe and eastern Asia, and 3) in precipitation and vegetation anomalies in sub-Saharan Africa, southern Africa, and eastern North America. Anomalies in vegetation were positively related to anomalies in precipitation throughout the Tropics and subtropics and in midlatitudes in the central parts of continents. Anomalies in vegetation and temperature were positively linked in coastal temperate climates such as in Europe and eastern Asia. These associations between temperature and vegetation may be explained by the sensitivity of the length of growing season to variations in temperature.

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Caroline J. Houldcroft, William M. F. Grey, Mike Barnsley, Christopher M. Taylor, Sietse O. Los, and Peter R. J. North

Abstract

New values are derived for snow-free albedo of five plant functional types (PFTs) and the soil/litter substrate from data acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors on board Terra and Aqua. The derived albedo values are used to provide and test an improved specification of surface albedo for the land surface scheme known as the Joint U.K. Land Environment Simulator (JULES) that forms part of the Hadley Centre Global Environmental Model (HadGEM) climate model. The International Geosphere–Biosphere Programme (IGBP) global land cover map is used in combination with the MODIS albedo to estimate the albedo of each cover type in the IGBP classification scheme, from which the albedo values of the JULES PFTs are computed. The albedo of the soil/litter substrate, referred to as the soil background albedo, is derived from partially vegetated regions using a method that separates the vegetation contribution to the albedo signal from that of the soil/litter substrate. The global fields of soil background albedo produced using this method exhibit more realistic spatial variations than the soil albedo map usually employed in conjunction with the JULES model. The revised total shortwave albedo values of the PFTs are up to 8% higher than those in the existing HadGEM scheme. To evaluate the influence of these differences upon surface albedo in the climate model, differences are computed globally between mean monthly land surface albedo, modeled using the existing and revised albedo values, and MODIS data. Incorporating the revised albedo values into the model reduces the global rmse for snow-free July land surface albedo from 0.051 to 0.024, representing a marked improvement on the existing parameterization.

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Piers J. Sellers, Compton J. Tucker, G. James Collatz, Sietse O. Los, Christopher O. Justice, Donald A. Dazlich, and David A. Randall

Abstract

The global parameter fields used in the revised Simple Biosphere Model (SiB2) of Sellers et al. are reviewed. The most important innovation over the earlier SiB1 parameter set of Dorman and Sellers is the use of satellite data to specify the time-varying phonological properties of FPAR, leaf area index. and canopy greenness fraction. This was done by processing a monthly 1° by 1° normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) dataset obtained farm Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer red and near-infrared data. Corrections were applied to the source NDVI dataset to account for (i) obvious anomalies in the data time series, (ii) the effect of variations in solar zenith angle, (iii) data dropouts in cold regions where a temperature threshold procedure designed to screen for clouds also eliminated cold land surface points, and (iv) persistent cloud cover in the Tropics. An outline of the procedures for calculating the land surface parameters from the corrected NDVI dataset is given, and a brief description is provided of source material, mainly derived from in situ observations, that was used in addition to the NDVI data. The datasets summarized in this paper should he superior to prescriptions currently used in most land surface parameterizations in that the spatial and temporal dynamics of key land surface parameters, in particular those related to vegetation, are obtained directly from a consistent set of global-scale observations instead of being inferred from a variety of survey-based land-cover classifications.

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Armel Thibaut Kaptué Tchuenté, Jean-Louis Roujean, Agnès Bégué, Sietse O. Los, Aaron A. Boone, Jean-François Mahfouf, Dominique Carrer, and Badiane Daouda

Abstract

Information related to land surface is immensely important to global change science. For example, land surface changes can alter regional climate through its effects on fluxes of water, energy, and carbon. In the past decades, data sources and methodologies for characterizing land surface heterogeneity (e.g., land cover, leaf area index, fractional vegetation cover, bare soil, and vegetation albedos) from remote sensing have evolved rapidly. The double ECOCLIMAP database—constituted of a land cover map and land surface variables and derived from Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) observations acquired between April 1992 and March 1993—was developed to support investigations that require information related to spatiotemporal dynamics of land surface. Here is the description of ECOCLIMAP-II: a new characterization of the land surface heterogeneity based on the latest generation of sensors, which represents an update of the ECOCLIMAP-I database over Africa. Owing to the many features of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors (more accurate in spatial resolution and spectral information compared to the AVHRR sensor), a variety of methods have been developed for an extended period of 8 yr (2000–07) to strengthen consistency between land surface variables as required by the meteorological and ecological communities. The relative accuracy (or performance) quality of ECOCLIMAP-II was assessed (i.e., by comparison with other global datasets). Results illustrate a substantial refinement; for instance, the fractional vegetation cover resulting in a root-mean-square error of 34% instead of 64% in comparison with the original version of ECOCLIMAP.

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