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C. D. Peters-Lidard, E. Blackburn, X. Liang, and E. F. Wood

Abstract

The sensitivity of sensible and latent heat fluxes and surface temperatures to the parameterization of the soil thermal conductivity is demonstrated using a soil vegetation atmosphere transfer scheme (SVATS) applied to intensive field campaigns (IFCs) 3 and 4 of the First ISLSCP (International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project) Field Experiment (FIFE). In particular, the commonly used function for soil thermal conductivity presented by M. C. McCumber and R. A. Pielke results in overestimation during wet periods and underestimation during dry periods, as confirmed with thermal conductivity data collected at the FIFE site. The ground heat flux errors affect all components of the energy balance, but are partitioned primarily into the sensible heat flux and surface temperatures in the daytime. At nighttime, errors in the net radiation also become significant in relative terms, although all fluxes are small. In addition, this method erroneously enhances the spatial variability of fluxes associated with soil moisture variability. The authors propose the incorporation of an improved method for predicting thermal conductivity in both frozen and unfrozen soils. This method requires the specification of two additional parameters, and sensitivity studies and tables of recommended parameter values to facilitate the incorporation of this method into SVATS are presented.

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Sara Q. Zhang, T. Matsui, S. Cheung, M. Zupanski, and C. Peters-Lidard

Abstract

This work assimilates multisensor precipitation-sensitive microwave radiance observations into a storm-scale NASA Unified Weather Research and Forecasting (NU-WRF) Model simulation of the West African monsoon. The analysis consists of a full description of the atmospheric states and a realistic cloud and precipitation distribution that is consistent with the observed dynamic and physical features. The analysis shows an improved representation of monsoon precipitation and its interaction with dynamics over West Africa. Most significantly, assimilation of precipitation-affected microwave radiance has a positive impact on the distribution of precipitation intensity and also modulates the propagation of cloud precipitation systems associated with the African easterly jet. Using an ensemble-based assimilation technique that allows state-dependent forecast error covariance among dynamical and microphysical variables, this work shows that the assimilation of precipitation-sensitive microwave radiances over the West African monsoon rainband enables initialization of storms. These storms show the characteristics of continental tropical convection that enhance the connection between tropical waves and organized convection systems.

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Eric F. Wood, Siegfried D. Schubert, Andrew W. Wood, Christa D. Peters-Lidard, Kingtse C. Mo, Annarita Mariotti, and Roger S. Pulwarty

Abstract

This paper summarizes and synthesizes the research carried out under the NOAA Drought Task Force (DTF) and submitted in this special collection. The DTF is organized and supported by NOAA’s Climate Program Office with the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) and involves scientists from across NOAA, academia, and other agencies. The synthesis includes an assessment of successes and remaining challenges in monitoring and prediction capabilities, as well as a perspective of the current understanding of North American drought and key research gaps. Results from the DTF papers indicate that key successes for drought monitoring include the application of modern land surface hydrological models that can be used for objective drought analysis, including extended retrospective forcing datasets to support hydrologic reanalyses, and the expansion of near-real-time satellite-based monitoring and analyses, particularly those describing vegetation and evapotranspiration. In the area of drought prediction, successes highlighted in the papers include the development of the North American Multimodel Ensemble (NMME) suite of seasonal model forecasts, an established basis for the importance of La Niña in drought events over the southern Great Plains, and an appreciation of the role of internal atmospheric variability related to drought events. Despite such progress, there are still important limitations in our ability to predict various aspects of drought, including onset, duration, severity, and recovery. Critical challenges include (i) the development of objective, science-based integration approaches for merging multiple information sources; (ii) long, consistent hydrometeorological records to better characterize drought; and (iii) extending skillful precipitation forecasts beyond a 1-month lead time.

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Chris C. Funk, Pete Peterson, George J. Huffman, Martin Francis Landsfeld, Christa Peters-Lidard, Frank Davenport, Shraddhanand Shukla, Seth Peterson, Diego H. Pedreros, Alex C. Ruane, Carolyn Mutter, Will Turner, Laura Harrison, Austin Sonnier, Juliet Way-Henthorne, and Gregory J. Husak

Abstract

As human exposure to hydroclimatic extremes increase and the number of in situ precipitation observations declines, precipitation estimates, such as those provided by the Integrated Multisatellite Retrievals for Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) (IMERG) mission, provide a critical source of information. Here, we present a new gauge-enhanced dataset [the Climate Hazards Center IMERG with Stations (CHIMES)] designed to support global crop and hydrologic modeling and monitoring. CHIMES enhances the IMERG Late Run product using an updated Climate Hazards Center (CHC) high-resolution climatology (CHPclim) and low-latency rain gauge observations. CHPclim differs from other products because it incorporates long-term averages of satellite precipitation, which increases CHPclim’s fidelity in data-sparse areas with complex terrain. This fidelity translates into performance increases in unbiased IMERGlate data, which we refer to as CHIME. This is augmented with gauge observations to produce CHIMES. The CHC’s curated rain gauge archive contains valuable contributions from many countries. There are two versions of CHIMES: preliminary and final. The final product has more copious and better-curated station data. Every pentad and month, bias-adjusted IMERGlate fields are combined with gauge observations to create pentadal and monthly CHIMESprelim and CHIMESfinal. Comparisons with pentadal, high-quality gridded station data show that IMERGlate performs well (r = 0.75), but has some systematic biases which can be reduced. Monthly cross-validation results indicate that unbiasing increases the variance explained from 50% to 63% and decreases the mean absolute error from 48 to 39 mm month−1. Gauge enhancement then increases the variance explained to 75%, reducing the mean absolute error to 27 mm month−1.

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J. J. Shi, W-K. Tao, T. Matsui, R. Cifelli, A. Hou, S. Lang, A. Tokay, N-Y. Wang, C. Peters-Lidard, G. Skofronick-Jackson, S. Rutledge, and W. Petersen

Abstract

One of the grand challenges of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission is to improve cold-season precipitation measurements in mid- and high latitudes through the use of high-frequency passive microwave radiometry. For this purpose, the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) with the Goddard microphysics scheme is coupled with a Satellite Data Simulation Unit (WRF–SDSU) to facilitate snowfall retrieval algorithms over land by providing a virtual cloud library and corresponding microwave brightness temperature measurements consistent with the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI). When this study was initiated, there were no prior published results using WRF at cloud-resolving resolution (1 km or finer) for high-latitude snow events. This study tested the Goddard cloud microphysics scheme in WRF for two different snowstorm events (a lake-effect event and a synoptic event between 20 and 22 January 2007) that took place over the Canadian CloudSat/Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) Validation Project (C3VP) site in Ontario, Canada. The 24-h-accumulated snowfall predicted by WRF with the Goddard microphysics was comparable to that observed by the ground-based radar for both events. The model correctly predicted the onset and termination of both snow events at the Centre for Atmospheric Research Experiments site. The WRF simulations captured the basic cloud patterns as seen by the ground-based radar and satellite [i.e., CloudSat and Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit B (AMSU-B)] observations, including the snowband featured in the lake event. The results reveal that WRF was able to capture the cloud macrostructure reasonably well. Sensitivity tests utilizing both the “2ICE” (ice and snow) and “3ICE” (ice, snow, and graupel) options in the Goddard microphysical scheme were also conducted. The domain- and time-averaged cloud species profiles from the WRF simulations with both microphysical options show identical results (due to weak vertical velocities and therefore the absence of large precipitating liquid or high-density ice particles like graupel). Both microphysics options produced an appreciable amount of liquid water, and the model cloud liquid water profiles compared well to the in situ C3VP aircraft measurements when only grid points in the vicinity of the flight paths were considered. However, statistical comparisons between observed and simulated radar echoes show that the model tended to have a high bias of several reflectivity decibels (dBZ), which shows that additional research is needed to improve the current cloud microphysics scheme for the extremely cold environment in high latitudes, despite the fact that the simulated ice/liquid water contents may have been reasonable for both events. Future aircraft observations are also needed to verify the existence of graupel in high-latitude continental snow events.

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Augusto C. V. Getirana, Emanuel Dutra, Matthieu Guimberteau, Jonghun Kam, Hong-Yi Li, Bertrand Decharme, Zhengqiu Zhang, Agnes Ducharne, Aaron Boone, Gianpaolo Balsamo, Matthew Rodell, Ally M. Toure, Yongkang Xue, Christa D. Peters-Lidard, Sujay V. Kumar, Kristi Arsenault, Guillaume Drapeau, L. Ruby Leung, Josyane Ronchail, and Justin Sheffield

Abstract

Despite recent advances in land surface modeling and remote sensing, estimates of the global water budget are still fairly uncertain. This study aims to evaluate the water budget of the Amazon basin based on several state-of-the-art land surface model (LSM) outputs. Water budget variables (terrestrial water storage TWS, evapotranspiration ET, surface runoff R, and base flow B) are evaluated at the basin scale using both remote sensing and in situ data. Meteorological forcings at a 3-hourly time step and 1° spatial resolution were used to run 14 LSMs. Precipitation datasets that have been rescaled to match monthly Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) and Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) datasets and the daily Hydrologie du Bassin de l’Amazone (HYBAM) dataset were used to perform three experiments. The Hydrological Modeling and Analysis Platform (HyMAP) river routing scheme was forced with R and B and simulated discharges are compared against observations at 165 gauges. Simulated ET and TWS are compared against FLUXNET and MOD16A2 evapotranspiration datasets and Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) TWS estimates in two subcatchments of main tributaries (Madeira and Negro Rivers). At the basin scale, simulated ET ranges from 2.39 to 3.26 mm day−1 and a low spatial correlation between ET and precipitation indicates that evapotranspiration does not depend on water availability over most of the basin. Results also show that other simulated water budget components vary significantly as a function of both the LSM and precipitation dataset, but simulated TWS generally agrees with GRACE estimates at the basin scale. The best water budget simulations resulted from experiments using HYBAM, mostly explained by a denser rainfall gauge network and the rescaling at a finer temporal scale.

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M. J. Best, G. Abramowitz, H. R. Johnson, A. J. Pitman, G. Balsamo, A. Boone, M. Cuntz, B. Decharme, P. A. Dirmeyer, J. Dong, M. Ek, Z. Guo, V. Haverd, B. J. J. van den Hurk, G. S. Nearing, B. Pak, C. Peters-Lidard, J. A. Santanello Jr., L. Stevens, and N. Vuichard

Abstract

The Protocol for the Analysis of Land Surface Models (PALS) Land Surface Model Benchmarking Evaluation Project (PLUMBER) was designed to be a land surface model (LSM) benchmarking intercomparison. Unlike the traditional methods of LSM evaluation or comparison, benchmarking uses a fundamentally different approach in that it sets expectations of performance in a range of metrics a priori—before model simulations are performed. This can lead to very different conclusions about LSM performance. For this study, both simple physically based models and empirical relationships were used as the benchmarks. Simulations were performed with 13 LSMs using atmospheric forcing for 20 sites, and then model performance relative to these benchmarks was examined. Results show that even for commonly used statistical metrics, the LSMs’ performance varies considerably when compared to the different benchmarks. All models outperform the simple physically based benchmarks, but for sensible heat flux the LSMs are themselves outperformed by an out-of-sample linear regression against downward shortwave radiation. While moisture information is clearly central to latent heat flux prediction, the LSMs are still outperformed by a three-variable nonlinear regression that uses instantaneous atmospheric humidity and temperature in addition to downward shortwave radiation. These results highlight the limitations of the prevailing paradigm of LSM evaluation that simply compares an LSM to observations and to other LSMs without a mechanism to objectively quantify the expectations of performance. The authors conclude that their results challenge the conceptual view of energy partitioning at the land surface.

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