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Paul A. Dirmeyer
,
C. Adam Schlosser
, and
Kaye L. Brubaker

Abstract

A synthesis of several approaches to quantifying land–atmosphere interactions is presented. These approaches use data from observations or atmospheric reanalyses applied to atmospheric tracer models and stand-alone land surface schemes. None of these approaches relies on the results of general circulation model simulations. A high degree of correlation is found among these independent approaches, and constructed here is a composite assessment of global land–atmosphere feedback strength as a function of season. The composite combines the characteristics of persistence of soil moisture anomalies, strong soil moisture regulation of evaporation rates, and reinforcement of water cycle anomalies through recycling. The regions and seasons that have a strong composite signal predominate in both summer and winter monsoon regions in the period after the rainy season wanes. However, there are exceptions to this pattern, most notably over the Great Plains of North America and the Pampas/Pantanal of South America, where there are signs of land–atmosphere feedback throughout most of the year. Soil moisture memory in many of these regions is long enough to suggest that real-time monitoring and accurate initialization of the land surface in forecast models could lead to improvements in medium-range weather to subseasonal climate forecasts.

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C. Adam Schlosser
,
Alan Robock
,
Konstantin Ya Vinnikov
,
Nina A. Speranskaya
, and
Yongkang Xue

Abstract

Off-line simulations of improved bucket hydrology and Simplified Simple Biosphere (SSiB) models are performed for a grassland vegetation catchment region, located at the Valdai water-balance research station in Russia, forced by observed meteorological and simulated actinometric data for 1966–83. Evaluation of the model simulations is performed using observations of total soil moisture in the top 1 m, runoff, evaporation, snow depth, and water-table depth made within the catchment. The Valdai study demonstrates that using only routine meteorological measurements, long-term simulations of land-surface schemes suitable for model evaluation can be made. The Valdai dataset is available for use in the evaluation of other land-surface schemes.

Both the SSiB and the bucket models reproduce the observed hydrology averaged over the simulation period (1967–83) and its interannual variability reasonably well. However, the models’ soil moisture interannual variability is too low during the fall and winter when compared to observations. In addition, some discrepancies in the models’ seasonal behavior with respect to observations are seen. The models are able to reproduce extreme hydrological events to some degree, but some inconsistencies in the model mechanisms are seen. The bucket model’s soil-moisture variability is limited by its inability to rise above its prescribed field capacity for the case where the observed water table rises into the top 1-m layer of soil, which can lead to erroneous simulations of evaporation and runoff. SSiB’s snow depth simulations are generally too low due to high evaporation from the snow surface. SSiB typically produces drainage out of its bottom layer during the summer, which appears inconsistent to the runoff observations of the catchment.

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J-P. Schulz
,
L. Dümenil
,
J. Polcher
,
C. A. Schlosser
, and
Y. Xue

Abstract

Three different land surface schemes that are designed for use in atmospheric general circulation models are compared. They were run in offline mode with identical atmospheric forcing values that were observed at Cabauw. This procedure allows one to analyze differences in the simulations that are not caused by different atmospheric conditions and to relate them to certain model characteristics. The intercomparison shows that the models produced similar results for surface temperature and total net radiation, which are also in good agreement with the observations. But they underestimate latent heat flux and overestimate sensible heat flux in summer. Differences in the components of energy and hydrological cycle as simulated by the schemes can be related to differences in model structures. The calculation of the surface temperature is of major importance, particularly on a diurnal timescale. Depending on the scheme chosen, the simulated surface temperature is closer to the observed radiative surface temperature or the observed soil temperature at a depth of a few centimeters. If a land surface scheme is going to be coupled to an atmospheric model, this needs to be considered. The simulation of the surface energy fluxes can be improved by careful calibration of the relevant parameters according to the conditions at the observational site. The stomatal resistance was found to be an essential parameter in determining the evolution of evapotranspiration for the Cabauw simulations.

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Alan Robock
,
Konstantin Ya Vinnikov
,
C. Adam Schlosser
,
Nina A. Speranskaya
, and
Yongkang Xue

Abstract

Soil moisture observations in sites with natural vegetation were made for several decades in the former Soviet Union at hundreds of stations. In this paper, the authors use data from six of these stations from different climatic regimes, along with ancillary meteorological and actinometric data, to demonstrate a method to validate soil moisture simulations with biosphere and bucket models. Some early and current general circulation models (GCMS) use bucket models for soil hydrology calculations. More recently, the Simple Biosphere Model (SiB) was developed to incorporate the effects of vegetation on fluxes of moisture, momentum, and energy at the earth's surface into soil hydrology models. Until now, the bucket and SiB have been verified by comparison with actual soil moisture data only on a limited basis. In this study, a Simplified SiB (SSIB) soil hydrology model and a 15-cm bucket model are forced by observed meteorological and actinometric data every 3 h for 6-yr simulations at the six stations. The model calculations of soil moisture are compared to observations of soil moisture, literally “ground truth,” snow cover, surface albedo, and net radiation” and with each other.

For three of the stations, the SSIB and 15-cm bucket models produce good simulations of seasonal cycles and interannual variations of soil moisture. For the other three stations, there are large errors in the simulations by both models. Inconsistencies in specification of field capacity may be partly responsible. There is no evidence that the SSiB simulations are superior in simulating soil moisture variations. In fact, the models are quite similar since SSiB implicitly has a bucket embedded in it. One of the main differences between the models is in the treatment of runoff due to melting snow in the spring-SSiB incorrectly puts all the snowmelt into runoff. While producing similar soil moisture simulations, the models produce very different surface latent and sensible beat fluxes, which would have large effects on GCM simulations.

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Xiang Gao
,
C. Adam Schlosser
,
Paul A. O’Gorman
,
Erwan Monier
, and
Dara Entekhabi

Abstract

Precipitation-gauge observations and atmospheric reanalysis are combined to develop an analogue method for detecting heavy precipitation events based on prevailing large-scale atmospheric conditions. Combinations of atmospheric variables for circulation (geopotential height and wind vector) and moisture (surface specific humidity, column and up to 500-hPa precipitable water) are examined to construct analogue schemes for the winter [December–February (DJF)] of the “Pacific Coast California” (PCCA) region and the summer [June–August (JJA)] of the Midwestern United States (MWST). The detection diagnostics of analogue schemes are calibrated with 1979–2005 and validated with 2006–14 NASA Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA). All analogue schemes are found to significantly improve upon MERRA precipitation in characterizing the occurrence and interannual variations of observed heavy precipitation events in the MWST. When evaluated with the late twentieth-century climate model simulations from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), all analogue schemes produce model medians of heavy precipitation frequency that are more consistent with observations and have smaller intermodel discrepancies than model-based precipitation. Under the representative concentration pathways (RCP) 4.5 and 8.5 scenarios, the CMIP5-based analogue schemes produce trends in heavy precipitation occurrence through the twenty-first century that are consistent with model-based precipitation, but with smaller intermodel disparity. The median trends in heavy precipitation frequency are positive for DJF over PCCA but are slightly negative for JJA over MWST. Overall, the analyses highlight the potential of the analogue as a powerful diagnostic tool for model deficiencies and its complementarity to an evaluation of heavy precipitation frequency based on model precipitation alone.

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A. P. Sokolov
,
P. H. Stone
,
C. E. Forest
,
R. Prinn
,
M. C. Sarofim
,
M. Webster
,
S. Paltsev
,
C. A. Schlosser
,
D. Kicklighter
,
S. Dutkiewicz
,
J. Reilly
,
C. Wang
,
B. Felzer
,
J. M. Melillo
, and
H. D. Jacoby
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A. P. Sokolov
,
P. H. Stone
,
C. E. Forest
,
R. Prinn
,
M. C. Sarofim
,
M. Webster
,
S. Paltsev
,
C. A. Schlosser
,
D. Kicklighter
,
S. Dutkiewicz
,
J. Reilly
,
C. Wang
,
B. Felzer
,
J. M. Melillo
, and
H. D. Jacoby

Abstract

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Integrated Global System Model is used to make probabilistic projections of climate change from 1861 to 2100. Since the model’s first projections were published in 2003, substantial improvements have been made to the model, and improved estimates of the probability distributions of uncertain input parameters have become available. The new projections are considerably warmer than the 2003 projections; for example, the median surface warming in 2091–2100 is 5.1°C compared to 2.4°C in the earlier study. Many changes contribute to the stronger warming; among the more important ones are taking into account the cooling in the second half of the twentieth century due to volcanic eruptions for input parameter estimation and a more sophisticated method for projecting gross domestic product (GDP) growth, which eliminated many low-emission scenarios.

However, if recently published data, suggesting stronger twentieth-century ocean warming, are used to determine the input climate parameters, the median projected warming at the end of the twenty-first century is only 4.1°C. Nevertheless, all ensembles of the simulations discussed here produce a much smaller probability of warming less than 2.4°C than implied by the lower bound of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) projected likely range for the A1FI scenario, which has forcing very similar to the median projection in this study. The probability distribution for the surface warming produced by this analysis is more symmetric than the distribution assumed by the IPCC because of a different feedback between the climate and the carbon cycle, resulting from the inclusion in this model of the carbon–nitrogen interaction in the terrestrial ecosystem.

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C. Adam Schlosser
,
Andrew G. Slater
,
Alan Robock
,
Andrew J. Pitman
,
Konstantin Ya. Vinnikov
,
Ann Henderson-Sellers
,
Nina A. Speranskaya
,
Ken Mitchell
, and
The PILPS 2(D) Contributors

Abstract

The Project for the Intercomparison of Land-Surface Parameterization Schemes (PILPS) aims to improve understanding and modeling of land surface processes. PILPS phase 2(d) uses a set of meteorological and hydrological data spanning 18 yr (1966–83) from a grassland catchment at the Valdai water-balance research site in Russia. A suite of stand-alone simulations is performed by 21 land surface schemes (LSSs) to explore the LSSs’ sensitivity to downward longwave radiative forcing, timescales of simulated hydrologic variability, and biases resulting from single-year simulations that use recursive spinup. These simulations are the first in PILPS to investigate the performance of LSSs at a site with a well-defined seasonal snow cover and frozen soil. Considerable model scatter for the control simulations exists. However, nearly all the LSS scatter in simulated root-zone soil moisture is contained within the spatial variability observed inside the catchment. In addition, all models show a considerable sensitivity to longwave forcing for the simulation of the snowpack, which during the spring melt affects runoff, meltwater infiltration, and subsequent evapotranspiration. A greater sensitivity of the ablation, compared to the accumulation, of the winter snowpack to the choice of snow parameterization is found. Sensitivity simulations starting at prescribed conditions with no spinup demonstrate that the treatment of frozen soil (moisture) processes can affect the long-term variability of the models. The single-year recursive runs show large biases, compared to the corresponding year of the control run, that can persist through the entire year and underscore the importance of performing multiyear simulations.

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Yongjiu Dai
,
Xubin Zeng
,
Robert E. Dickinson
,
Ian Baker
,
Gordon B. Bonan
,
Michael G. Bosilovich
,
A. Scott Denning
,
Paul A. Dirmeyer
,
Paul R. Houser
,
Guoyue Niu
,
Keith W. Oleson
,
C. Adam Schlosser
, and
Zong-Liang Yang

The Common Land Model (CLM) was developed for community use by a grassroots collaboration of scientists who have an interest in making a general land model available for public use and further development. The major model characteristics include enough unevenly spaced layers to adequately represent soil temperature and soil moisture, and a multilayer parameterization of snow processes; an explicit treatment of the mass of liquid water and ice water and their phase change within the snow and soil system; a runoff parameterization following the TOPMODEL concept; a canopy photo synthesis-conductance model that describes the simultaneous transfer of CO2 and water vapor into and out of vegetation; and a tiled treatment of the subgrid fraction of energy and water balance. CLM has been extensively evaluated in offline mode and coupling runs with the NCAR Community Climate Model (CCM3). The results of two offline runs, presented as examples, are compared with observations and with the simulation of three other land models [the Biosphere-Atmosphere Transfer Scheme (BATS), Bonan's Land Surface Model (LSM), and the 1994 version of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Atmospheric Physics LSM (IAP94)].

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M. Rodell
,
H. K. Beaudoing
,
T. S. L’Ecuyer
,
W. S. Olson
,
J. S. Famiglietti
,
P. R. Houser
,
R. Adler
,
M. G. Bosilovich
,
C. A. Clayson
,
D. Chambers
,
E. Clark
,
E. J. Fetzer
,
X. Gao
,
G. Gu
,
K. Hilburn
,
G. J. Huffman
,
D. P. Lettenmaier
,
W. T. Liu
,
F. R. Robertson
,
C. A. Schlosser
,
J. Sheffield
, and
E. F. Wood

Abstract

This study quantifies mean annual and monthly fluxes of Earth’s water cycle over continents and ocean basins during the first decade of the millennium. To the extent possible, the flux estimates are based on satellite measurements first and data-integrating models second. A careful accounting of uncertainty in the estimates is included. It is applied within a routine that enforces multiple water and energy budget constraints simultaneously in a variational framework in order to produce objectively determined optimized flux estimates. In the majority of cases, the observed annual surface and atmospheric water budgets over the continents and oceans close with much less than 10% residual. Observed residuals and optimized uncertainty estimates are considerably larger for monthly surface and atmospheric water budget closure, often nearing or exceeding 20% in North America, Eurasia, Australia and neighboring islands, and the Arctic and South Atlantic Oceans. The residuals in South America and Africa tend to be smaller, possibly because cold land processes are negligible. Fluxes were poorly observed over the Arctic Ocean, certain seas, Antarctica, and the Australasian and Indonesian islands, leading to reliance on atmospheric analysis estimates. Many of the satellite systems that contributed data have been or will soon be lost or replaced. Models that integrate ground-based and remote observations will be critical for ameliorating gaps and discontinuities in the data records caused by these transitions. Continued development of such models is essential for maximizing the value of the observations. Next-generation observing systems are the best hope for significantly improving global water budget accounting.

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