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S. Fox, A. J. Pitman, A. Boone, and F. Habets

Abstract

Six modes of complexity of the Chameleon land surface model (CHASM) are used to explore the relationship between the complexity of the surface energy balance (SEB) formulation and the capacity of the model to explain intermodel variations in results from the Rhône-Aggregation Intercomparison Project (Rhône-AGG). At an annual time scale, differences between models identified in the Rhône-AGG experiments in the partitioning of available energy and water at the spatial scale of the Rhône Basin can be reproduced by CHASM via variations in the SEB complexity. Only two changes in the SEB complexity in the model generate statistically significant differences in the mean latent heat flux. These are the addition of a constant surface resistance to the simplest mode of CHASM and the addition of tiling and temporally and spatially variable surface resistance to produce the most complex model. Further, the only statistically significant differences in runoff occur following the addition of a constant surface resistance to the simplest mode of CHASM. As the time scale is reduced from annual to monthly, specific mechanisms begin to dominate the simulations produced by each Rhône-AGG model and introduce parameterization-specific behavior that depends on the time evolution of processes operating on longer time scales. CHASM cannot capture all this behavior by varying the SEB complexity, demonstrating the contribution to intermodel differences by hydrology and snow-related processes. Despite the increasing role of hydrology and snow in simulating processes at finer time scales, provided the constant surface resistance is included, CHASM's modes perform within the range of uncertainty illustrated by other Rhône-AGG models on seasonal and annual time scales.

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B. Decharme, H. Douville, A. Boone, F. Habets, and J. Noilhan

Abstract

This study focuses on the influence of an exponential profile of saturated hydraulic conductivity, k sat, with soil depth on the water budget simulated by the Interaction Soil Biosphere Atmosphere (ISBA) land surface model over the French Rhône River basin. With this exponential profile, the saturated hydraulic conductivity at the surface increases by approximately a factor of 10, and its mean value increases in the root zone and decreases in the deeper region of the soil in comparison with the values given by Clapp and Hornberger. This new version of ISBA is compared to the original version in offline simulations using the Rhône-Aggregation high-resolution database. Low-resolution simulations, where all atmospheric data and surface parameters have been aggregated, are also performed to test the impact of the modified k sat profile at the typical scale of a climate model. The simulated discharges are compared to observations from a dense network consisting of 88 gauging stations.

Results of the high-resolution experiments show that the exponential profile of k sat globally improves the simulated discharges and that the assumption of an increase in saturated hydraulic conductivity from the soil surface to a depth close to the rooting depth in comparison with values given by Clapp and Hornberger is reasonable. Results of the scaling experiments indicate that this parameterization is also suitable for large-scale hydrological applications. Nevertheless, low-resolution simulations with both model versions overestimate evapotranspiration (especially from the plant transpiration and the wet fraction of the canopy) to the detriment of total runoff, which emphasizes the need for implementing subgrid distribution of precipitation and land surface properties in large-scale hydrological applications.

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J.-P. Vergnes, B. Decharme, R. Alkama, E. Martin, F. Habets, and H. Douville

Abstract

Despite their potential influences on surface water and climate, groundwater processes are generally not represented in climate models. Here, a simple groundwater scheme including two-dimensional flow dynamics and accounting for groundwater–river exchanges is introduced into the global Total Runoff Integrated Pathways (TRIP) river routing model coupled to the Météo-France climate model. This original scheme is tested in offline mode over France at high () and low (0.5°) resolution against a dense network of river discharge and water table observations over the 1970–2010 period, and is compared to the fine-tuned Système d’Analyze Fournissant des Renseignements Atmosphériques à la Neige (SAFRAN)–Interactions between Soil, Biosphere, and Atmosphere (ISBA) coupled hydrometeorological model (MODCOU). In addition, the simulated terrestrial water storage (TWS) variations are compared to the TWS estimates from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission. The aquifer basins over France are defined using the World-wide Hydrogeological Mapping and Assessment Programme (WHYMAP) groundwater resources map, a simplified French lithological map, and the International Geological Map of Europe (IGME). TRIP is forced by daily runoff and drainage data derived from a preexisting simulation of the ISBA land surface scheme driven by the high-resolution SAFRAN meteorological analysis. Four simulations are carried out with or without groundwater at both resolutions. Results show that the groundwater scheme allows TRIP to better capture the spatiotemporal variability of the observed river discharges and piezometric heads. Summer base flows are particularly improved over the main rivers of France. Decreasing the horizontal resolution has a limited impact on the simulated discharges, while it slightly degrades the simulation of water table variations.

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P. Quintana-Seguí, P. Le Moigne, Y. Durand, E. Martin, F. Habets, M. Baillon, C. Canellas, L. Franchisteguy, and S. Morel

Abstract

Système d’analyse fournissant des renseignements atmosphériques à la neige (SAFRAN) is a mesoscale atmospheric analysis system for surface variables. It produces an analysis at the hourly time step using ground data observations. One of SAFRAN’s main features is that it is based on climatically homogeneous zones and is able to take vertical variations into account. Originally intended for mountainous areas, it was later extended to cover France. This paper focuses on the validation of the extended version. The principle of the analysis is described and its quality was tested for five parameters (air temperature, humidity, wind speed, rainfall, and incoming radiation), using Météo-France’s observation network and data of some well-instrumented stations. Moreover, SAFRAN’s rainfall was compared with another analysis, known as analyse utilisant le relief pour l’hydrométéorologie (Aurelhy). Last, two different versions of SAFRAN were compared for mountain conditions. Temperature and relative humidity were well reproduced, presenting no bias. Wind speed was also well reproduced; however, its bias was −0.3 m s–1. The interpolation from the 6-h time step of the analysis to the 1-h time step was one of the sources of error. The precipitation analysis was robust and not biased; its root-mean-square error was 2.4 mm day−1. This error was mainly due to the spatial heterogeneity of the precipitation within the geographical zones of analysis (1000 km2). The analysis of incoming solar radiation presented some biases, especially in coastal areas. The results of the comparison with some well-instrumented sites were encouraging. SAFRAN is being run operationally at Météo-France on a real-time basis for various applications.

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L. Bouilloud, E. Martin, F. Habets, A. Boone, P. Le Moigne, J. Livet, M. Marchetti, A. Foidart, L. Franchistéguy, S. Morel, J. Noilhan, and P. Pettré

Abstract

A numerical model designed to simulate the evolution of a snow layer on a road surface was forced by meteorological forecasts so as to assess its potential for use within an operational suite for road management in winter. The suite is intended for use throughout France, even in areas where no observations of surface conditions are available. It relies on short-term meteorological forecasts and long-term simulations of surface conditions using spatialized meteorological data to provide the initial conditions. The prediction of road surface conditions (road surface temperature and presence of snow on the road) was tested at an experimental site using data from a comprehensive experimental field campaign. The results were satisfactory, with detection of the majority of snow and negative road surface temperature events. The model was then extended to all of France with an 8-km grid resolution, using forcing data from a real-time meteorological analysis system. Many events with snow on the roads were simulated for the 2004/05 winter. Results for road surface temperature were checked against road station data from several highways, and results for the presence of snow on the road were checked against measurements from the Météo-France weather station network.

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Sjoukje Philip, Sarah F. Kew, Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, Emma Aalbers, Robert Vautard, Friederike Otto, Karsten Haustein, Florence Habets, and Roop Singh

Abstract

The extreme precipitation that resulted in historic flooding in central-northern France began 26 May 2016 and was linked to a large cutoff low. The floods caused some casualties and over a billion euros in damage. To objectively answer the question of whether anthropogenic climate change played a role, a near-real-time “rapid” attribution analysis was performed, using well-established event attribution methods, best available observational data, and as many climate simulations as possible within that time frame. This study confirms the results of the rapid attribution study. We estimate how anthropogenic climate change has affected the likelihood of exceedance of the observed amount of 3-day precipitation in April–June for the Seine and Loire basins. We find that the observed precipitation in the Seine basin was very rare, with a return period of hundreds of years. It was less rare on the Loire—roughly 1 in 20 years. We evaluated five climate model ensembles for 3-day basin-averaged precipitation extremes in April–June. The four ensembles that simulated the statistics agree well. Combining the results reduces the uncertainty and indicates that the probability of such rainfall has increased over the last century by about a factor of 2.2 (>1.4) on the Seine and 1.9 (>1.5) on the Loire due to anthropogenic emissions. These numbers are virtually the same as those in the near-real-time attribution study by van Oldenborgh et al. Together with the evaluation of the attribution of Storm Desmond by Otto et al., this shows that, for these types of events, near-real-time attribution studies are now possible.

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A. Boone, F. Habets, J. Noilhan, D. Clark, P. Dirmeyer, S. Fox, Y. Gusev, I. Haddeland, R. Koster, D. Lohmann, S. Mahanama, K. Mitchell, O. Nasonova, G.-Y. Niu, A. Pitman, J. Polcher, A. B. Shmakin, K. Tanaka, B. van den Hurk, S. Vérant, D. Verseghy, P. Viterbo, and Z.-L. Yang

Abstract

The Rhône-Aggregation (Rhône-AGG) Land Surface Scheme (LSS) intercomparison project is an initiative within the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX)/Global Land–Atmosphere System Study (GLASS) panel of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). It is a intermediate step leading up to the next phase of the Global Soil Wetness Project (GSWP) (Phase 2), for which there will be a broader investigation of the aggregation between global scales (GSWP-1) and the river scale. This project makes use of the Rhône modeling system, which was developed in recent years by the French research community in order to study the continental water cycle on a regional scale.

The main goals of this study are to investigate how 15 LSSs simulate the water balance for several annual cycles compared to data from a dense observation network consisting of daily discharge from over 145 gauges and daily snow depth from 24 sites, and to examine the impact of changing the spatial scale on the simulations. The overall evapotranspiration, runoff, and monthly change in water storage are similarly simulated by the LSSs, however, the differing partitioning among the fluxes results in very different river discharges and soil moisture equilibrium states. Subgrid runoff is especially important for discharge at the daily timescale and for smaller-scale basins. Also, models using an explicit treatment of the snowpack compared better with the observations than simpler composite schemes.

Results from a series of scaling experiments are examined for which the spatial resolution of the computational grid is decreased to be consistent with large-scale atmospheric models. The impact of upscaling on the domain-averaged hydrological components is similar among most LSSs, with increased evaporation of water intercepted by the canopy and a decrease in surface runoff representing the most consistent inter-LSS responses. A significant finding is that the snow water equivalent is greatly reduced by upscaling in all LSSs but one that explicitly accounts for subgrid-scale orography effects on the atmospheric forcing.

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A. G. Slater, C. A. Schlosser, C. E. Desborough, A. J. Pitman, A. Henderson-Sellers, A. Robock, K. Ya Vinnikov, J. Entin, K. Mitchell, F. Chen, A. Boone, P. Etchevers, F. Habets, J. Noilhan, H. Braden, P. M. Cox, P. de Rosnay, R. E. Dickinson, Z-L. Yang, Y-J. Dai, Q. Zeng, Q. Duan, V. Koren, S. Schaake, N. Gedney, Ye M. Gusev, O. N. Nasonova, J. Kim, E. A. Kowalczyk, A. B. Shmakin, T. G. Smirnova, D. Verseghy, P. Wetzel, and Y. Xue

Abstract

Twenty-one land surface schemes (LSSs) performed simulations forced by 18 yr of observed meteorological data from a grassland catchment at Valdai, Russia, as part of the Project for the Intercomparison of Land-Surface Parameterization Schemes (PILPS) Phase 2(d). In this paper the authors examine the simulation of snow. In comparison with observations, the models are able to capture the broad features of the snow regime on both an intra- and interannual basis. However, weaknesses in the simulations exist, and early season ablation events are a significant source of model scatter. Over the 18-yr simulation, systematic differences between the models’ snow simulations are evident and reveal specific aspects of snow model parameterization and design as being responsible. Vapor exchange at the snow surface varies widely among the models, ranging from a large net loss to a small net source for the snow season. Snow albedo, fractional snow cover, and their interplay have a large effect on energy available for ablation, with differences among models most evident at low snow depths. The incorporation of the snowpack within an LSS structure affects the method by which snow accesses, as well as utilizes, available energy for ablation. The sensitivity of some models to longwave radiation, the dominant winter radiative flux, is partly due to a stability-induced feedback and the differing abilities of models to exchange turbulent energy with the atmosphere. Results presented in this paper suggest where weaknesses in macroscale snow modeling lie and where both theoretical and observational work should be focused to address these weaknesses.

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