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Anton C. M. Beljaars and Fred C. Bosveld

Abstract

This paper describes and interprets the 1987 data from Cabauw, the Netherlands, which can be used to test land surface schemes in stand-alone mode. The data are available from the authors for model development and research. It consists of half-hour averages of forcing data (wind, temperature, specific humidity at 20-m height, downward solar and thermal radiation, and precipitation) and validation data (net radiation, sensible heat flux, latent heat flux, ground heat flux, and soil temperature). To obtain a continuous time series of the forcing parameters and the surface energy fluxes, it was necessary to use a model to fill in the missing observations. The quality of the observations and the reliability of model data are assessed by exploiting the redundancy in the observations and by comparing the model output with the data when both are available. The monthly averages of sensible heat flux are believed to be accurate to within ±5 W m−2 and the monthly means of net radiation and latent heat flux to within ±10 W m−2. An analysis of the evaporation data shows that evaporation from the interception reservoir is very common and that the canopy resistance can be modeled in terms of solar radiation, soil moisture, and atmospheric moisture deficit.

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Pedro Viterbo and Anton C. M. Beljaars

Abstract

A new version of the ECMWF land surface parameterization scheme is described. It has four prognostic layers in the soil for temperature and soil moisture, with a free drainage and a zero heat flux condition at the bottom as a boundary condition. The scheme has been extensively tested in stand-alone mode with the help of long observational time series from three different experiments with different climatological regimes: the First ISLSCP (International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project) Field Experiment in the United States, Cabauw in the Netherlands, and the Amazonian Rainforest Meteorological Experiment in Brazil. The emphasis is on seasonal timescales because it was felt that the main deficiencies in the old ECMWF land surface scheme were related to its capability of storing precipitation in spring and making it available for evaporation later in the year. It is argued that the stand-alone testing is particularly important, because it allows one to isolate problems in the land surface scheme without having to deal with complicated interactions in the full three-dimensional model.

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Alan K. Betts, Pedro Viterbo, and Anton C. M. Beljaars

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Data from the First ISLSCP (International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project) Field Experiment for the summer season of 1987 are used to assess the land-surface interaction of the ECMWF reanalysis. In comparison with an earlier study, using the 1992 ECMWF operational model, the land-surface interaction is greatly improved. The bias in the incoming solar radiation has been removed, although there seems to be a small low bias in the incoming longwave, which is significant at night. The four-layer soil moisture model depicts the seasonal cycle well, and the root zone is recharged satisfactorily after major rain events. Consequently, the evaporative fraction (EF) over the season is now generally quite good. There is, however, a low bias in EF in June and high bias in October, which is probably due to the absence of a seasonal cycle in the model vegetation. The evaporative fraction also appears too high in the model just after rainfall. It also appears that the model lacks a realistic seasonal control on the soil heat flux. The surface diurnal thermodynamic cycle has two noticeable errors. The temperature minimum at sunrise is too low, because the surface uncouples too much at night under the stable boundary layer, and the incoming longwave radiation is biased low. There is also an unrealistic diurnal cycle of mixing ratio, q, with too strong a midmorning peak, and too large a fall during the day to a late afternoon minimum that is biased low. These errors in the diurnal cycle of q may feed back on the diurnal cycle of precipitation. The morning peak is partly related to the too-strong inversion at sunrise, which slows the deepening of the boundary layer. The late afternoon minimum of mixing ratio (below that of the model analysis) leads to a positive nudging of soil moisture in the analysis cycle. The model summer mixing ratio has a small high bias of 0.5 g kg−1.

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Roel A. J. Neggers, Martin Köhler, and Anton C. M. Beljaars

Abstract

This study considers the question of what is the least complex bulk mass flux framework that can still conceptually reproduce the smoothly varying coupling between the shallow convective cloud layer and the subcloud mixed layer. To this end, the model complexity of the classic single bulk mass flux scheme is enhanced. Inspired by recent large-eddy simulation results, the authors argue that two relatively minor but key conceptual modifications are already sufficient to achieve this goal: (i) retaining a dry transporting updraft in the moist limit and (ii) applying continuous updraft area partitioning to this dual mass flux (DualM) framework. The dry updraft represents all internal mixed layer updrafts that terminate near the mixed layer top, whereas the moist updraft represents all updrafts that condense and rise out of the mixed layer as buoyant cumulus clouds. The continuous area partitioning between the dry and moist updraft is a function of moist convective inhibition above the mixed layer top. Updraft initialization is a function of the updraft area fraction and is therefore consistent with the updraft definition. It is argued that the model complexity thus enhanced is sufficient to allow reproduction of various phenomena involved in the cloud–subcloud coupling, namely (i) dry countergradient transport within the mixed layer that is independent of the moist updraft, (ii) soft triggering of moist convective flux throughout the boundary layer, and (iii) a smooth response to smoothly varying forcings, including the reproduction of gradual transitions to and from shallow cumulus convection.

The DualM framework is evaluated by implementing in the Eddy Diffusivity Mass Flux (EDMF) boundary layer scheme of the ECMWF’s Integrated Forecasting System. Single column model experiments are evaluated against large-eddy simulation results for a range of different cases that span a broad parameter space of cloud–subcloud coupling intensities. The results illustrate that also in numerical practice the DualM framework can reproduce gradual transitions to and from shallow cumulus convection. Model behavior is further explored through experiments in which model complexity is purposely reduced, thus mimicking a single bulk updraft setup. This gives more insight into the new model-internal interactions and explains the obtained case results.

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Peter A. E. M. Janssen, Anton C. M. Beljaars, Adrian Simmons, and Pedro Viterbo

Abstract

By forcing a third-generation wave-prediction model with surface stresses from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) atmospheric model, it was discovered that lower wave heights were generated than by forcing with the ECMWF surface winds. The apparent inconsistency between surface stresses and surface winds in the atmospheric model turns out to be time-step dependent. A similar conclusion may be inferred from results of the WAMDI group.

Apparently, a number of atmospheric models have inaccuracies in the boundary-layer scheme near the surface. In this paper it is argued that the reason for the inaccuracies is related to the numerical integration scheme that is used in these models. It is shown that a numerical scheme that treats physics and dynamics separately has an equilibrium that is time-step dependent. An alternative scheme—namely, simultaneous, implicit treatment of both physics and dynamics—removes this deficiency. Possible consequences for atmospheric-, wave-, and ocean-circulation models are briefly discussed.

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Anton C. M. Beljaars, Pedro Viterbo, Martin J. Miller, and Alan K. Betts

Abstract

This paper discusses the sensitivity of short- and medium-range precipitation forecasts for the central United States to land surface parametrization and soil moisture anomalies. Two forecast systems with different land surface and boundary layer schemes were running in parallel during the extreme rainfall events of July 1993. One forecast system produces much better precipitation forecasts due to a more realistic thermodynamic structure resulting from improved evaporation in an area that is about 1 day upstream from the area of heaviest rain. The paper also discusses two ensembles of 30-day integrations for July 1993. In the first ensemble, soil moisture is initialized at field capacity (100% availability); in the second ensemble it is at 25% of soil moisture availability. It is shown that the moist integrations produce a much more realistic precipitation pattern than the dry integrations. These results suggest that there may be some predictive skill in the monthly range related to the time-scale of the soil moisture reservoir. The mechanism responsible for the precipitation differences is concluded to be the result of differences in surface heating in the area 1 day upstream, impacting the atmospheric thermo-dynamic structure. Increased evaporation and reduced heating in moist soil conditions upstream result in the absence of significant boundary layer capping inversion and hence little inhibition of deep precipitating convection.

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Jian Ling, Peter Bauer, Peter Bechtold, Anton Beljaars, Richard Forbes, Frederic Vitart, Marcela Ulate, and Chidong Zhang

Abstract

This study introduces a concept of global versus local forecast skill of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO). The global skill, measured by a commonly used MJO index [the Real-time Multivariate MJO (RMM)], evaluates the model’s capability of forecasting global patterns of the MJO, with an emphasis on the zonal wind fields. The local skill is measured by a method of tracking the eastward propagation of MJO precipitation. It provides quantitative information of the strength, propagation speed, and timing of MJO precipitation in a given region, such as the Indian Ocean. Both global and local MJO forecast skills are assessed for ECMWF forecasts of three MJO events during the 2011–12 Dynamics of the MJO (DYNAMO) field campaign. Characteristics of error growth differ substantially between global and local MJO forecast skills, and between the three MJO quantities (strength, speed, and timing) of the local skill measure. They all vary considerably among the three MJO events. Deterioration in global forecast skill for these three events appears to be related to poor local skill in forecasting the propagation speed of MJO precipitation. The global and local MJO forecast skill measures are also applied to evaluate numerical experiments of observation denial, humidity relaxation, and forcing by daily perturbations in sea surface temperature (SST). The results suggest that forecast skill or errors of convective initiation of the three MJO events have global origins. Effects of local (Indian Ocean) factors, such as enhanced observations in the initial conditions, variability of tropospheric humidity and tropical SST, on forecasts of MJO initiation and propagation are limited.

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Peter Bechtold, Noureddine Semane, Philippe Lopez, Jean-Pierre Chaboureau, Anton Beljaars, and Niels Bormann

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A new diagnostic convective closure, which is dependent on convective available potential energy (CAPE), is derived under the quasi-equilibrium assumption for the free troposphere subject to boundary layer forcing. The closure involves a convective adjustment time scale for the free troposphere and a coupling coefficient between the free troposphere and the boundary layer based on different time scales over land and ocean. Earlier studies with the ECMWF Integrated Forecasting System (IFS) have already demonstrated the model’s ability to realistically represent tropical convectively coupled waves and synoptic variability with use of the “standard” CAPE closure, given realistic entrainment rates.

A comparison of low-resolution seasonal integrations and high-resolution short-range forecasts against complementary satellite and radar data shows that with the extended CAPE closure it is also possible, independent of model resolution and time step, to realistically represent nonequilibrium convection such as the diurnal cycle of convection and the convection tied to advective boundary layers, although representing the late night convection over land remains a challenge. A more in-depth regional analysis of the diurnal cycle and the closure is provided for the continental United States and particularly Africa, including comparison with data from satellites and a cloud-resolving model (CRM). Consequences for global numerical weather prediction (NWP) are not only a better phase representation of convection, but also better forecasts of its spatial distribution and local intensity.

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Emanuel Dutra, Gianpaolo Balsamo, Pedro Viterbo, Pedro M. A. Miranda, Anton Beljaars, Christoph Schär, and Kelly Elder

Abstract

A new snow scheme for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) land surface model has been tested and validated. The scheme includes a new parameterization of snow density, incorporating a liquid water reservoir, and revised formulations for the subgrid snow cover fraction and snow albedo. Offline validation (covering a wide range of spatial and temporal scales) includes simulations for several observation sites from the Snow Models Intercomparison Project-2 (SnowMIP2) and global simulations driven by the meteorological forcing from the Global Soil Wetness Project-2 (GSWP2) and by ECMWF Re-Analysis ERA-Interim. The new scheme reduces the end of season ablation biases from 10 to 2 days in open areas and from 21 to 13 days in forest areas. Global GSWP2 results are compared against basin-scale runoff and terrestrial water storage. The new snow density parameterization increases the snow thermal insulation, reducing soil freezing and leading to an improved hydrological cycle. Simulated snow cover fraction is compared against NOAA/National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) with a reduction of the negative bias of snow-covered area of the original snow scheme. The original snow scheme had a systematic negative bias in surface albedo when compared against Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) remote sensing data. The new scheme reduces the albedo bias, consequently reducing the spatial- and time-averaged surface net shortwave radiation bias by 5.2 W m−2 in 14% of the Northern Hemisphere land. The new snow scheme described in this paper was introduced in the ECMWF operational forecast system in September 2009 (cycle 35R3).

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Anna Agustí-Panareda, Anton Beljaars, Carla Cardinali, Iliana Genkova, and Chris Thorncroft

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The field experiment of the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) project during the 2006 wet monsoon season provided an unprecedented amount of radiosonde/dropsonde data over the West African region. This paper explores the usage and impacts of this invaluable dataset in the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts analyses and forecasts. These soundings are the only source of data that can provide 3D information on the thermodynamic and dynamic structures of the lower troposphere over continental West Africa. They are particularly important for the Sahel region located between 12° and 20°N, which is characterized by large gradients in temperature and moisture in the lower troposphere. An assimilation experiment comparison between the pre-AMMA and AMMA radiosonde networks shows that the extra AMMA soundings have a significant analysis impact on the low-level temperature over the Sahel and on the structure of the African easterly jet. However, the impacts of the extra AMMA data on the forecast disappear after 24 h. The soundings reveal large model biases in boundary layer temperature over the northern and eastern Sahel, which are consistent with the well-known model biases in cloud, rainfall, and radiation. Large analysis increments in temperature lead to increments in divergence and subsidence, which act to suppress convection. Thus, the analysis increments appear to have an undesirable feedback on the cloud and temperature model biases. The impact of the AMMA soundings on the African easterly jet is to enhance and extend the jet streak to 15°E, that is, toward the eastern part of the Sahel. No observations are assimilated east of 15°E at the level of the African easterly jet to support the jet enhancement farther east. Comparisons with independent atmospheric cloud motion vectors indicate that the African easterly jet in the analysis is too weak over this data-sparse region. This could have implications for the development of African easterly waves in the model forecast. Further experimentation by assimilating atmospheric motion vectors—currently not used—could address this problem.

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