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Hui Wang, A. Sankarasubramanian, and Ranji S. Ranjithan

Abstract

Skillful medium-range weather forecasts are critical for water resources planning and management. This study aims to improve 15-day-ahead accumulated precipitation forecasts by combining biweekly weather and disaggregated climate forecasts. A combination scheme is developed to combine reforecasts from a numerical weather model and disaggregated climate forecasts from ECHAM4.5 for developing 15-day-ahead precipitation forecasts. Evaluation of the skill of the weather–climate information (WCI)-based biweekly forecasts under leave-five-out cross validation shows that WCI-based forecasts perform better than reforecasts in many grid points over the continental United States. Correlation between rank probability skill score (RPSS) and disaggregated ECHAM4.5 forecast errors reveals that the lower the error in the disaggregated forecasts, the better the performance of WCI forecasts. Weights analysis from the combination scheme also shows that the biweekly WCI forecasts perform better by assigning higher weights to the better-performing candidate forecasts (reforecasts or disaggregated ECHAM4.5 forecasts). Particularly, WCI forecasts perform better during the summer months during which reforecasts have limited skill. Even though the disaggregated climate forecasts do not perform well over many grid points, the primary reason WCI-based forecasts perform better than the reforecasts is due to the reduction in the overconfidence of the reforecasts. Since the disaggregated climate forecasts are better dispersed than the reforecasts, combining them with reforecasts results in reduced uncertainty in predicting the 15-day-ahead accumulated precipitation.

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Roop Saini, Guiling Wang, and Jeremy S. Pal

Abstract

This study tackles the contribution of soil moisture feedback to the development of extreme summer precipitation anomalies over the conterminous United States using a regional climate model. The model performs well in reproducing both the mean climate and extremes associated with drought and flood. A large set of experiments using the model are conducted that involve swapped initial soil moisture between flood and drought years using the 1988 and 2012 droughts and 1993 flood as examples. The starting time of these experiments includes 1 May (late spring) and 1 June (early summer). For all three years, the impact of 1 May soil moisture swapping is much weaker than the 1 June soil moisture swapping. In 1988 and 2012, replacing the 1 June soil moisture with that from 1993 reduces both the spatial extent and the severity of the simulated summer drought and heat. The impact is especially strong in 2012. In 1993, however, replacing the 1 June soil moisture with that from 1988 has little impact on precipitation. The contribution of soil moisture feedback to summer extremes is larger in 2012 than in 1988 and 1993. This may be because of the presence of strong anomalies in large-scale forcing in 1988 and 1993 that prohibit or favor precipitation, and the lack of such in 2012. This study demonstrates how the contribution of land–atmosphere feedback to the development of seasonal climate anomalies may vary from year to year and highlights its importance in the 2012 drought.

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Lin Zhao, S.-Y. Simon Wang, and Jonathan Meyer

Abstract

Using observed and reanalysis data, the pronounced interdecadal variations of Lake Qinghai (LQH) water levels and associated climate factors were diagnosed. From the 1960s to the early 2000s, the water level of LQH in the Tibetan Plateau has experienced a continual decline of 3 m but has since increased considerably. A water budget analysis of the LQH watershed suggested that the water vapor flux divergence is the dominant atmospheric process modulating precipitation and subsequently the lake volume change . The marked interdecadal variability in and was found to be related to the North Pacific (NP) and Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) modes during the cold season (November–March). Through empirical orthogonal function (EOF) and regression analyses, the water vapor sink over the LQH watershed also responds significantly to the summer Eurasian wave train modulated by the low-frequency variability associated with the cold season NP and PDO modes. Removal of these variability modes (NP, PDO, and the Eurasian wave train) led to a residual uptrend in the hydrological variables of , , and precipitation, corresponding to the net water level increase. Attribution analysis using the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) single-forcing experiments shows that the simulations driven by greenhouse gas forcing produced a significant increase in the LQH precipitation, while anthropogenic aerosols generated a minor wetting trend as well.

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S. Wang, G. H. Huang, B. W. Baetz, and W. Huang

Abstract

This paper presents a factorial possibilistic–probabilistic inference (FPI) framework for estimation of hydrologic parameters and characterization of interactive uncertainties. FPI is capable of incorporating expert knowledge into the parameter adjustment procedure for enhancing the understanding of the nature of the calibration problem. As a component of the FPI framework, a Monte Carlo–based fractional fuzzy–factorial analysis (MFA) method is also proposed to identify the best parameter set and its underlying probability distributions in a fuzzy probability space. Factorial analysis of variance (ANOVA) coupled with its multivariate extensions are performed to explore potential interactions among model parameters and among hydrological metrics in a systematic manner. The proposed methodology is applied to the Xiangxi River watershed by using the conceptual hydrological model (HYMOD) to demonstrate its validity and applicability. Results reveal that MFA is capable of deriving probability density functions (PDFs) of hydrologic model parameters. Moreover, the sequential inferences derived from the F test and its multivariate approximations disclose the statistical significance of parametric interactions affecting individual and multiple hydrological metrics, respectively. The findings presented here indicate that parametric interactions are complex in a fuzzy stochastic environment, and the magnitude and direction of interaction effects vary in different regions of the parameter space as well as vary temporally because of the dynamic behavior of hydrologic systems.

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R. D. Koster, S. D. Schubert, H. Wang, S. P. Mahanama, and Anthony M. DeAngelis

Abstract

Flash droughts—uncharacteristically rapid dryings of the land system—are naturally associated with extreme precipitation deficits. Such precipitation deficits, however, do not tell the whole story, for land surface drying can be exacerbated by anomalously high evapotranspiration (ET) rates driven by anomalously high temperatures (e.g., during heat waves), anomalously high incoming radiation (e.g., from reduced cloudiness), and other meteorological anomalies. In this study, the relative contributions of precipitation and ET anomalies to flash drought generation in the Northern Hemisphere are quantified through the analysis of diagnostic fields contained within the MERRA-2 reanalysis product. Unique to the approach is the explicit treatment of soil moisture impacts on ET through relationships diagnosed from the reanalysis data; under this treatment, an ET anomaly that is negative relative to the local long-term climatological mean is still considered positive in terms of its contribution to a flash drought if it is high for the concurrent value of soil moisture. Maps produced in the analysis show the fraction of flash drought production stemming specifically from ET anomalies and illustrate how ET anomalies for some droughts are related to temperature and radiation anomalies. While ET is found to have an important impact on flash drought production in the central United States and in parts of Russia known from past studies to be prone to heat wave–related drought, and while this impact does appear stronger during the onset (first several days) of flash droughts, overall the contribution of ET to these droughts is small relative to the contribution of precipitation deficit.

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Aihui Wang, Xubin Zeng, Samuel S. P. Shen, Qing-Cun Zeng, and Robert E. Dickinson

Abstract

This paper intends to investigate the time scales of land surface hydrology and enhance the understanding of the hydrological cycle between the atmosphere, vegetation, and soil. A three-layer model for land surface hydrology is developed to study the temporal variation and vertical structure of water reservoirs in the vegetation–soil system in response to precipitation forcing. The model is an extension of the existing one-layer bucket model. A new time scale is derived, and it better represents the response time scale of soil moisture in the root zone than the previously derived inherent time scale (i.e., the ratio of the field capacity to the potential evaporation). It is found that different water reservoirs of the vegetation–soil system have different time scales. Precipitation forcing is mainly concentrated on short time scales with small low-frequency components, but it can cause long time-scale disturbances in the soil moisture of root zone. This time scale increases with soil depth, but it can be reduced significantly under wetter conditions. Although the time scale of total water content in the vertical column in the three-layer model is similar to that of the one-layer bucket model, the time scale of evapotranspiration is very different. This suggests the need to consider the vertical structure in land surface hydrology reservoirs and in climate study.

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Kristi R. Arsenault, Grey S. Nearing, Shugong Wang, Soni Yatheendradas, and Christa D. Peters-Lidard

Abstract

The Noah land surface model with multiple parameterization options (Noah-MP) includes a routine for the dynamic simulation of vegetation carbon assimilation and soil carbon decomposition processes. To use remote sensing observations of vegetation to constrain simulations from this model, it is necessary first to understand the sensitivity of the model to its parameters. This is required for efficient parameter estimation, which is both a valuable way to use observations and also a first or concurrent step in many state-updating data assimilation procedures. We use variance decomposition to assess the sensitivity of estimates of sensible heat, latent heat, soil moisture, and net ecosystem exchange made by certain standard Noah-MP configurations that include the dynamic simulation of vegetation and carbon to 43 primary user-specified parameters. This is done using 32 years’ worth of data from 10 international FluxNet sites. Findings indicate that there are five soil parameters and six (or more) vegetation parameters (depending on the model configuration) that act as primary controls on these states and fluxes.

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S.-Y. Simon Wang, Yen-Heng Lin, Robert R. Gillies, and Kirsti Hakala

Abstract

Ongoing (2014–16) drought in the state of California has played a major role in the depletion of groundwater. Within California’s Central Valley, home to one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions, drought and increased groundwater depletion occurs almost hand in hand, but this relationship appears to have changed over the last decade. Data derived from 497 wells have revealed a continued depletion of groundwater lasting a full year after drought, a phenomenon that was not observed in earlier records before the twenty-first century. Possible causes include 1) lengthening of drought associated with amplification in the 4–6-yr drought and El Niño frequency since the late 1990s and 2) intensification of drought and increased pumping that enhances depletion. Altogether, the implication is that current groundwater storage in the Central Valley will likely continue to diminish even further in 2016, regardless of the drought status.

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Steven D. Miller, Fang Wang, Ann B. Burgess, S. McKenzie Skiles, Matthew Rogers, and Thomas H. Painter

Abstract

Runoff from mountain snowpack is an important freshwater supply for many parts of the world. The deposition of aeolian dust on snow decreases snow albedo and increases the absorption of solar irradiance. This absorption accelerates melting, impacting the regional hydrological cycle in terms of timing and magnitude of runoff. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Dust Radiative Forcing in Snow (MODDRFS) satellite product allows estimation of the instantaneous (at time of satellite overpass) surface radiative forcing caused by dust. While such snapshots are useful, energy balance modeling requires temporally resolved radiative forcing to represent energy fluxes to the snowpack, as modulated primarily by varying cloud cover. Here, the instantaneous MODDRFS estimate is used as a tie point to calculate temporally resolved surface radiative forcing. Dust radiative forcing scenarios were considered for 1) clear-sky conditions and 2) all-sky conditions using satellite-based cloud observations. Comparisons against in situ stations in the Rocky Mountains show that accounting for the temporally resolved all-sky solar irradiance via satellite retrievals yields a more representative time series of dust radiative effects compared to the clear-sky assumption. The modeled impact of dust on enhanced snowmelt was found to be significant, accounting for nearly 50% of the total melt at the more contaminated station sites. The algorithm is applicable to regional basins worldwide, bearing relevance to both climate process research and the operational management of water resources.

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Jin Teng, Jai Vaze, Francis H. S. Chiew, Biao Wang, and Jean-Michel Perraud

Abstract

This paper assesses the relative uncertainties from GCMs and from hydrological models in modeling climate change impact on runoff across southeast Australia. Five lumped conceptual daily rainfall–runoff models are used to model runoff using historical daily climate series and using future climate series obtained by empirically scaling the historical climate series informed by simulations from 15 GCMs. The majority of the GCMs project a drier future for this region, particularly in the southern parts, and this is amplified as a bigger reduction in the runoff. The results indicate that the uncertainty sourced from the GCMs is much larger than the uncertainty in the rainfall–runoff models. The variability in the climate change impact on runoff results for one rainfall–runoff model informed by 15 GCMs (an about 28%–35% difference between the minimum and maximum results for mean annual, mean seasonal, and high runoff) is considerably larger than the variability in the results between the five rainfall–runoff models informed by 1 GCM (a less than 7% difference between the minimum and maximum results). The difference between the rainfall–runoff modeling results is larger in the drier regions for scenarios of big declines in future rainfall and in the low-flow characteristics. The rainfall–runoff modeling here considers only the runoff sensitivity to changes in the input climate data (primarily daily rainfall), and the difference between the hydrological modeling results is likely to be greater if potential changes in the climate–runoff relationship in a warmer and higher CO2 environment are modeled.

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