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Sam Chang
and
Michael Ek

Abstract

Modifications to the formulations in the recently published paper by Ek and Mahrt are presented. One table and three figures in that paper have also been revised.

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L. Mahrt
and
Michael Ek

Abstract

The Penman relationship for potential evaporation is modified to simply include the influence of atmospheric stability on turbulent transport of water vapor. Explicit expressions for the stability-dependent, surface exchange coefficient developed by Louis are used. The diurnal variation of potential evaporation is computed for the stability-dependent and original Penman relationships using Wangara data.

The influence of afternoon instability increases the aerodynamic term of the modified Penman relationship by 50% or more on days with moderate instability. However, the unmodified Penman relationship predicts values of daily potential evaporation close to that of the stability-dependent relationship. This agreement is partly due to compensating overestimation during nighttime hours. Errors due to use of daily-averaged variables are examined in detail by evaluating the nonlinear interactions between the diurnal variation of the variables in the Penman relationship.

A simpler method for estimating the exchange coefficient is constructed from an empirical relationship between the radiation Richardson number and the Obukhov length. This method is less accurate, but it allows estimation of the stability-dependent exchange coefficient using only parameters already required for evaluation of the Penman relationship. Finally, the diurnal variation of the atmospheric resistance coefficient appearing in the Penman-Monteith relationship is presented.

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Rongqian Yang
,
Michael Ek
, and
Jesse Meng

Abstract

Surface water and energy budgets from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction–U.S. Department of Energy (NCEP–DOE) Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP-II) Global Reanalysis 2 (GR2), the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR), and the NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) are compared here with each other and with available observations over the Mississippi River basin. The comparisons in seasonal cycle, interannual variation, and annual mean over a 31-yr period show that there are a number of noticeable differences and similarities in the large-scale basin averages. Warm season precipitation and runoff in the GR2 are too large compared to the observations, and seasonal surface water variation is small. By contrast, the precipitation in both NARR and CFSR is more reasonable and in better agreement with the observation, although the corresponding seasonal runoff is very small. The main causes of the differences in both surface parameterization and approach used in assimilating the observed precipitation datasets and snow analyses are then discussed. Despite the discrepancies in seasonal water budget components, seasonal energy budget terms in the three reanalyses are close to each other and to available observations. The interannual variations in both water and energy budgets are comparable. This study shows that the CFSR achieves a large improvement over the GR2, indicating that the CFSR dataset can be used in climate variability studies. Nonetheless, improved land surface parameterization schemes and data assimilation techniques are needed to depict the surface water and energy climates better, in particular, the variation in seasonal runoff.

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Rongqian Yang
,
Kenneth Mitchell
,
Jesse Meng
, and
Michael Ek

Abstract

To examine the impact from land model upgrades and different land initializations on the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)’s Climate Forecast System (CFS), extensive T126 CFS experiments are carried out for 25 summers with 10 ensemble members using the old Oregon State University (OSU) land surface model (LSM) and the new Noah LSM. The CFS using the Noah LSM, initialized in turn with land states from the NCEP–Department of Energy Global Reanalysis 2 (GR-2), Global Land Data System (GLDAS), and GLDAS climatology, is compared to the CFS control run using the OSU LSM initialized with the GR-2 land states. Using anomaly correlation as a primary measure, the summer-season prediction skill of the CFS using different land models and different initial land states is assessed for SST, precipitation, and 2-m air temperature over the contiguous United States (CONUS) on an ensemble basis.

Results from these CFS experiments indicate that upgrading from the OSU LSM to the Noah LSM improves the overall CONUS June–August (JJA) precipitation prediction, especially during ENSO neutral years. Such an enhancement in CFS performance requires the execution of a GLDAS with the very same Noah LSM as utilized in the land component of the CFS, while improper initializations of the Noah LSM using the GR-2 land states lead to degraded CFS performance. In comparison with precipitation, the land upgrades have a relatively small impact on both of the SST and 2-m air temperature predictions.

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Eunkyo Seo
,
Paul A. Dirmeyer
,
Michael Barlage
,
Heiln Wei
, and
Michael Ek

Abstract

This study investigates the performance of the latter NCEP Unified Forecast System (UFS) Coupled Model prototype simulations (P5–P8) during boreal summer 2011–17 in regard to coupled land–atmosphere processes and their effect on model bias. Major land physics updates were implemented during the course of model development. Namely, the Noah land surface model was replaced with Noah-MP and the global vegetation dataset was updated starting with P7. These changes occurred along with many other UFS improvements. This study investigates UFS’s ability to simulate observed surface conditions in 35-day predictions based on the fidelity of model land surface processes. Several land surface states and fluxes are evaluated against flux tower observations across the globe, and segmented coupling processes are also diagnosed using process-based multivariate metrics. Near-surface meteorological variables generally improve, especially surface air temperature, and the land–atmosphere coupling metrics better represent the observed covariance between surface soil moisture and surface fluxes of moisture and radiation. Moreover, this study finds that temperature biases over the contiguous United States are connected to the model’s ability to simulate the different balances of coupled processes between water-limited and energy-limited regions. Sensitivity to land initial conditions is also implicated as a source of forecast error. Above all, this study presents a blueprint for the validation of coupled land–atmosphere behavior in forecast models, which is a crucial model development task to assure forecast fidelity from day one through subseasonal time scales.

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Anil Kumar
,
Fei Chen
,
Michael Barlage
,
Michael B. Ek
, and
Dev Niyogi

Abstract

The impact of 8-day-averaged data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor—namely, the 1-km leaf area index, absorbed photosynthetic radiation, and land-use data—is investigated for use in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model for regional weather prediction. These high-resolution, near-real-time MODIS data are hypothesized to enhance the representation of land–atmosphere interactions and to potentially improve the WRF model forecast skill for temperature, surface moisture, surface fluxes, and soil temperature. To test this hypothesis, the impact of using MODIS-based land surface data on surface energy and water budgets was assessed within the “Noah” land surface model with two different canopy-resistance schemes. An ensemble of six model experiments was conducted using the WRF model for a typical summertime episode over the U.S. southern Great Plains that occurred during the International H2O Project (IHOP_2002) field experiment. The six model experiments were statistically analyzed and showed some degree of improvement in surface latent heat flux and sensible heat flux, as well as surface temperature and moisture, after land use, leaf area index, and green vegetation fraction data were replaced by remotely sensed data. There was also an improvement in the WRF-simulated temperature and boundary layer moisture with MODIS data in comparison with the default U.S. Geological Survey land-use and leaf area index inputs. Overall, analysis suggests that recalibration and improvements to both the input data and the land model help to improve estimation of surface and soil parameters and boundary layer moisture and led to improvement in simulating convection in WRF runs. Incorporating updated land conditions provided the most notable improvements, and the mesoscale model performance could be further enhanced when improved land surface schemes become available.

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Joseph A. Santanello Jr.
,
Mark A. Friedl
, and
Michael B. Ek

Abstract

The convective planetary boundary layer (PBL) integrates surface fluxes and conditions over regional and diurnal scales. As a result, the structure and evolution of the PBL contains information directly related to land surface states. To examine the nature and magnitude of land–atmosphere coupling and the interactions and feedbacks controlling PBL development, the authors used a large sample of radiosonde observations collected at the southern Atmospheric Research Measurement Program–Great Plains Cloud and Radiation Testbed (ARM-CART) site in association with simulations of mixed-layer growth from a single-column PBL/land surface model. The model accurately predicts PBL evolution and realistically simulates thermodynamics associated with two key controls on PBL growth: atmospheric stability and soil moisture. The information content of these variables and their influence on PBL height and screen-level temperature can be characterized using statistical methods to describe PBL–land surface coupling over a wide range of conditions. Results also show that the first-order effects of land–atmosphere coupling are manifested in the control of soil moisture and stability on atmospheric demand for evapotranspiration and on the surface energy balance. Two principal land–atmosphere feedback regimes observed during soil moisture drydown periods are identified that complicate direct relationships between PBL and land surface properties, and, as a result, limit the accuracy of uncoupled land surface and traditional PBL growth models. In particular, treatments for entrainment and the role of the residual mixed layer are critical to quantifying diurnal land–atmosphere interactions.

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Pierre Gentine
,
Albert A. M. Holtslag
,
Fabio D'Andrea
, and
Michael Ek

Abstract

The onset of moist convection over land is investigated using a conceptual approach with a slab boundary layer model. The authors determine the essential factors for the onset of boundary layer clouds over land and study their relative importance. They are 1) the ratio of the temperature to the moisture lapse rates of the free troposphere, that is, the inversion Bowen ratio; 2) the mean daily surface temperature; 3) the relative humidity of the free troposphere; and 4) the surface evaporative fraction. A clear transition is observed between two regimes of moistening of the boundary layer as assessed by the relative humidity at the boundary layer top. In the first so-called wet soil advantage regime, the moistening results from the increase of the mixed-layer specific humidity, which linearly depends on the surface evaporative fraction and inversion Bowen ratio through a dynamic boundary layer factor. In the second so-called dry soil advantage regime, the relative humidity tendency at the boundary layer top is controlled by the thermodynamics and changes in the moist adiabatic induced by the decreased temperature at the boundary layer top and consequent reduction in saturation water vapor pressure. This regime pertains to very deep boundary layers under weakly stratified free troposphere over hot surface conditions. In the context of the conceptual model, a rise in free-tropospheric temperature (global warming) increases the occurrence of deep convection and reduces the cloud cover over moist surfaces. This study provides new intuition and predictive capacity on the mechanism controlling the occurrence of moist convection over land.

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Weizhong Zheng
,
Michael Ek
,
Kenneth Mitchell
,
Helin Wei
, and
Jesse Meng

Abstract

This study examines the performance of the NCEP Global Forecast System (GFS) surface layer parameterization scheme for strongly stable conditions over land in which turbulence is weak or even disappears because of high near-surface atmospheric stability. Cases of both deep snowpack and snow-free conditions are investigated. The results show that decoupling and excessive near-surface cooling may appear in the late afternoon and nighttime, manifesting as a severe cold bias of the 2-m surface air temperature that persists for several hours or more. Concurrently, because of negligible downward heat transport from the atmosphere to the land, a warm temperature bias develops at the first model level. The authors test changes to the stable surface layer scheme that include introduction of a stability parameter constraint that prevents the land–atmosphere system from fully decoupling and modification to the roughness-length formulation. GFS sensitivity runs with these two changes demonstrate the ability of the proposed surface layer changes to reduce the excessive near-surface cooling in forecasts of 2-m surface air temperature. The proposed changes prevent both the collapse of turbulence in the stable surface layer over land and the possibility of numerical instability resulting from thermal decoupling between the atmosphere and the surface. The authors also execute and evaluate daily GFS 7-day test forecasts with the proposed changes spanning a one-month period in winter. The assessment reveals that the systematic deficiencies and substantial errors in GFS near-surface 2-m air temperature forecasts are considerably reduced, along with a notable reduction of temperature errors throughout the lower atmosphere and improvement of forecast skill scores for light and medium precipitation amounts.

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Youlong Xia
,
Michael B. Ek
,
Yihua Wu
,
Trent Ford
, and
Steven M. Quiring

Abstract

Soil moisture observations from seven observational networks (spanning portions of seven states) with different biome and climate conditions were used in this study to evaluate multimodel simulated soil moisture products. The four land surface models, including Noah, Mosaic, Sacramento soil moisture accounting (SAC), and the Variable Infiltration Capacity model (VIC), were run within phase 2 of the North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS-2), with a ⅛° spatial resolution and hourly temporal resolution. Hundreds of sites in Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, West Texas, and Utah were used to evaluate simulated soil moisture in the 0–10-, 10–40-, and 40–100-cm soil layers. Soil moisture was spatially averaged in each state to reduce noise. In general, the four models captured broad features (e.g., seasonal variation) of soil moisture variations in all three soil layers in seven states, except for the 10–40-cm soil layer in West Texas and the 40–100-cm soil layer in Alabama, where the anomaly correlations are weak. Overall, Mosaic, SAC, and the ensemble mean have the highest simulation skill and VIC has the lowest simulation skill. The results show that Noah and VIC are wetter than the observations while Mosaic and SAC are drier than the observations, mostly likely because of systematic errors in model evapotranspiration.

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