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Augusto C. V. Getirana, Aaron Boone, and Christophe Peugeot

Abstract

Within the framework of the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) Land Surface Model Intercomparison Project phase 2 (ALMIP-2), this study evaluates the water balance simulated by the Interactions between Soil, Biosphere, and Atmosphere (ISBA) over the upper Ouémé River basin, in Benin, using a mesoscale river routing scheme (RRS). The RRS is based on the nonlinear Muskingum–Cunge method coupled with two linear reservoirs that simulate the time delay of both surface runoff and base flow that are produced by land surface models. On the basis of the evidence of a deep water-table recharge in that region, a reservoir representing the deep-water infiltration (DWI) is introduced. The hydrological processes of the basin are simulated for the 2005–08 AMMA field campaign period during which rainfall and streamflow data were intensively collected over the study area. Optimal RRS parameter sets were determined for three optimization experiments that were performed using daily streamflow at five gauges within the basin. Results demonstrate that the RRS simulates streamflow at all gauges with relative errors varying from −20% to 3% and Nash–Sutcliffe coefficients varying from 0.62 to 0.90. DWI varies from 24% to 67% of the base flow as a function of the subbasin. The relatively simple reservoir DWI approach is quite robust, and further improvements would likely necessitate more complex solutions (e.g., considering seasonality and soil type in ISBA); thus, such modifications are recommended for future studies. Although the evaluation shows that the simulated streamflows are generally satisfactory, further field investigations are necessary to confirm some of the model assumptions.

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Augusto Getirana, Aaron Boone, Christophe Peugeot, and ALMIP2 Working Group

Abstract

Comparing streamflow simulations against observations has become a straightforward way to evaluate a land surface model’s (LSM) ability in simulating water budget within a catchment. Using a mesoscale river routing scheme (RRS), this study evaluates simulated streamflows over the upper Ouémé River basin resulting from 14 LSMs within the framework of phase 2 of the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) Land Surface Model Intercomparison Project (ALMIP2). The ALMIP2 RRS (ARTS) has been used to route LSM outputs. ARTS is based on the nonlinear Muskingum–Cunge method and a simple deep water infiltration formulation representing water-table recharge as previously observed in that region. Simulations are performed for the 2005–08 period during which ground observations are largely available. Experiments are designed using different ground-based rainfall datasets derived from two interpolation methods: the Thiessen technique and a combined kriging–Lagrangian methodology. LSM-based total runoff (TR) averages vary from 0.07 to 1.97 mm day−1, while optimal TR was estimated as ~0.65 mm day−1. This highly affected the RRS parameterization and streamflow simulations. Optimal Nash–Sutcliffe coefficients for LSM-averaged streamflows varied from 0.66 to 0.92, depending on the gauge station. However, individual LSM performances show a wider range. A more detailed rainfall distribution provided by the kriging–Lagrangian methodology resulted in overall better streamflow simulations. The early runoff generation related to reduced infiltration rates during early rainfall events features as one of the main reasons for poor LSM performances.

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Mehnaz Rashid, Rong-You Chien, Agnès Ducharne, Hyungjun Kim, Pat J.-F. Yeh, Christophe Peugeot, Aaron Boone, Xiaogang He, Luc Séguis, Yutaro Yabu, Moussa Boukari, and Min-Hui Lo

Abstract

A comprehensive estimation of water budget components, particularly groundwater storage (GWS) and fluxes, is crucial. In this study, we evaluate the terrestrial water budget of the Donga basin (Benin, West Africa), as simulated by three land surface models (LSMs) used in the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis Land Surface Model Intercomparison Project, phase 2 (ALMIP2): CLM4, Catchment LSM (CLSM), and Minimal Advanced Treatments of Surface Interaction and Runoff (MATSIRO). All three models include an unconfined groundwater component and are driven by the same ALMIP2 atmospheric forcing from 2005 to 2008. Results show that all three models simulate substantially shallower water table depth (WTD) with smaller seasonal variations, approximately 1–1.5 m compared to the observed values that range between 4 and 9.6 m, while the seasonal variations of GWS are overestimated by all the models. These seemingly contradictory simulation results can be explained by the overly high specific yield prescribed in all models. All models achieve similar GWS simulations but with different fractions of precipitation partitioning into surface runoff, base flow, and evapotranspiration (ET), suggesting high uncertainty and errors in the terrestrial and groundwater budgets among models. The poor performances of models can be attributed to bias in the hydrological partitioning (base flow vs surface runoff) and sparse subsurface data. This analysis confirms the importance of subsurface hydrological processes in the current generation of LSMs and calls for substantial improvement in both surface water budget (which controls groundwater recharge) and the groundwater system (hydrodynamic parameters, vertical geometry).

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Manuela Grippa, Laurent Kergoat, Aaron Boone, Christophe Peugeot, Jérôme Demarty, Bernard Cappelaere, Laetitia Gal, Pierre Hiernaux, Eric Mougin, Agnès Ducharne, Emanuel Dutra, Martha Anderson, Christopher Hain, and ALMIP2 Working Group

Abstract

Land surface processes play an important role in the West African monsoon variability. In addition, the evolution of hydrological systems in this region, and particularly the increase of surface water and runoff coefficients observed since the 1950s, has had a strong impact on water resources and on the occurrence of floods events. This study addresses results from phase 2 of the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) Land Surface Model Intercomparison Project (ALMIP2), carried out to evaluate the capability of different state-of-the-art land surface models to reproduce surface processes at the mesoscale. Evaluation of runoff and water fluxes over the Mali site is carried out through comparison with runoff estimations over endorheic watersheds as well as evapotranspiration (ET) measurements. Three remote-sensing-based ET products [ALEXI, MODIS, and Global Land Evaporation Amsterdam Model (GLEAM)] are also analyzed. It is found that, over deep sandy soils, surface runoff is generally overestimated, but the ALMIP2 multimodel mean reproduces in situ measurements of ET and water stress events rather well. However, ALMIP2 models are generally unable to distinguish among the two contrasted hydrological systems typical of the study area. Employing as input a soil map that explicitly represents shallow soils improves the representation of water fluxes for the models that can account for their representation. Shallow soils are shown to be also quite challenging for remote-sensing-based ET products, even if their effect on evaporative loss was captured by the diagnostic thermal-based ALEXI. A better representation of these soils, in soil databases, model parameterizations, and remote sensing algorithms, is fundamental to improve the estimation of water fluxes in this part of the Sahel.

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Françoise Guichard, Nicole Asencio, Christophe Peugeot, Olivier Bock, Jean-Luc Redelsperger, Xuefeng Cui, Matthew Garvert, Benjamin Lamptey, Emiliano Orlandi, Julia Sander, Federico Fierli, Miguel Angel Gaertner, Sarah C. Jones, Jean-Philippe Lafore, Andrew Morse, Mathieu Nuret, Aaron Boone, Gianpaolo Balsamo, Patricia de Rosnay, Bertrand Decharme, Philip P. Harris, and J.-C. Bergès

Abstract

An evaluation of precipitation and evapotranspiration simulated by mesoscale models is carried out within the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) program. Six models performed simulations of a mesoscale convective system (MCS) observed to cross part of West Africa in August 2005.

Initial and boundary conditions are found to significantly control the locations of rainfall at synoptic scales as simulated with either mesoscale or global models. When initialized and forced at their boundaries by the same analysis, all models forecast a westward-moving rainfall structure, as observed by satellite products. However, rainfall is also forecast at other locations where none was observed, and the nighttime northward propagation of rainfall is not well reproduced. There is a wide spread in the rainfall rates across simulations, but also among satellite products.

The range of simulated meridional fluctuations of evapotranspiration (E) appears reasonable, but E displays an overly strong zonal symmetry. Offline land surface modeling and surface energy budget considerations show that errors in the simulated E are not simply related to errors in the surface evaporative fraction, and involve the significant impact of cloud cover on the incoming surface shortwave flux.

The use of higher horizontal resolution (a few km) enhances the variability of precipitation, evapotranspiration, and precipitable water (PW) at the mesoscale. It also leads to a weakening of the daytime precipitation, less evapotranspiration, and smaller PW amounts. The simulated MCS propagates farther northward and somewhat faster within an overall drier atmosphere. These changes are associated with a strengthening of the links between PW and precipitation.

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