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Rogier van der Velde, Mhd. Suhyb Salama, Marcel D. van Helvoirt, Zhongbo Su, and Yaoming Ma

Abstract

Understanding the sources of uncertainty that cause deviations between simulated and satellite-observed states can facilitate optimal usage of these products via data assimilation or calibration techniques. A method is presented for separating uncertainties following from (i) scale differences between model grid and satellite footprint, (ii) residuals inherent to imperfect model and retrieval applications, and (iii) biases in the climatologies of simulations and retrievals. The method is applied to coarse (10 km) soil moisture simulations by the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model (MM5)–Noah regional climate model and 2.5 years of high-resolution (100 m) retrievals from the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) data collected over central Tibet. Suppression of the bias is performed via cumulative distribution function (CDF) matching. The other deviations are separated by taking the variance of the ASAR soil moisture at the coarse MM5 model grid as measure for the deviations caused by scale differences. Via decomposition of the uncertainty sources it is shown that the bias and the spatial-scale difference explain the majority (>70%) of the deviations between the two products, whereas the contribution of model–observation residuals is less than 30% on a monthly basis. Consequently, this study demonstrates that accounting for uncertainties caused by bias as well as spatial-scale difference is imperative for meaningful assimilation of high-resolution soil moisture products. On the other hand, the large uncertainties following from spatial-scale differences suggests that high-resolution soil moisture products have a potential of providing observation-based input for the subgrid spatial variability parameterizations within large-scale models.

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M. Jahanzeb Malik, Rogier van der Velde, Zoltan Vekerdy, and Zhongbo Su

Abstract

This study assesses the impact of assimilating satellite-observed snow albedo on the Noah land surface model (LSM)-simulated fluxes and snow properties. A direct insertion technique is developed to assimilate snow albedo into Noah and is applied to three intensive study areas in North Park (Colorado) that are part of the 2002/03 Cold Land Processes Field Experiment (CLPX). The assimilated snow albedo products are 1) the standard Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) product (MOD10A1) and 2) retrievals from MODIS observations with the recently developed Pattern-Based Semiempirical (PASS) approach. The performance of the Noah simulations, with and without assimilation, is evaluated using the in situ measurements of snow albedo, upward shortwave radiation, and snow depth. The results show that simulations with albedo assimilation agree better with the measurements. However, because of the limited impact of snow albedo updates after subsequent snowfall, the mean (or seasonal) error statistics decrease significantly for only two of the three CLPX sites. Though the simulated snow depth and duration for the snow season benefit from the assimilation, the greatest improvements are found in the simulated upward shortwave radiation, with root mean squared errors reduced by about 30%. As such, this study demonstrates that assimilation of satellite-observed snow albedo can improve LSM simulations, which may positively affect the representation of hydrological and surface energy budget processes in runoff and numerical weather prediction models.

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Donghai Zheng, Rogier van der Velde, Zhongbo Su, Jun Wen, Xin Wang, and Kun Yang

Abstract

This study evaluates the Noah land surface model (LSM) in its ability to simulate water and heat exchanges over frozen ground in a Tibetan meadow ecosystem. A comprehensive dataset including in situ micrometeorological and soil moisture–temperature profile measurements collected between November and March is utilized, and analyses of the measurements reveal that the measured soil freezing characteristics are better captured by 1) modifying the parameter b l implemented in the current Noah LSM that constrains the shape parameter of soil water retention curve utilized by the water potential freezing point depression equation to produce appropriate liquid water content θ liq under subzero temperature conditions and 2) neglecting the ice effect on soil-specific surface and thus matric potential via setting the empirical parameter that accounts for the effect of increase in specific surface of soil particles and ice–liquid water c k to zero. The numerical experiments performed with the Noah model run show that in comparison to the default Noah LSM, adoption of c k = 0 and site-specific b l values reduces the overestimation of θ liq across the soil profile. Implementation of augmentations such as the parameterization of diurnally varying thermal roughness length resolves the overestimation of daytime turbulent heat fluxes and underestimation of surface temperature. Further adoption of a new heat conductivity parameterization reduces the overestimation of nighttime surface temperature. An appropriate treatment of phase change efficiency that accounts for changing freezing rate with varying liquid water contents is also needed to reduce the temperature underestimation across soil profiles.

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Donghai Zheng, Rogier van der Velde, Zhongbo Su, Martin J. Booij, Arjen Y. Hoekstra, and Jun Wen
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Donghai Zheng, Rogier van der Velde, Zhongbo Su, Martijn J. Booij, Arjen Y. Hoekstra, and Jun Wen

ABSTRACT

Current land surface models still have difficulties with producing reliable surface heat fluxes and skin temperature (T sfc) estimates for high-altitude regions, which may be addressed via adequate parameterization of the roughness lengths for momentum (z 0m) and heat (z 0h) transfer. In this study, the performance of various z 0h and z 0m schemes developed for the Noah land surface model is assessed for a high-altitude site (3430 m) on the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau. Based on the in situ surface heat fluxes and profile measurements of wind and temperature, monthly variations of z 0m and diurnal variations of z 0h are derived through application of the Monin–Obukhov similarity theory. These derived values together with the measured heat fluxes are utilized to assess the performance of those z 0m and z 0h schemes for different seasons. The analyses show that the z 0m dynamics are related to vegetation dynamics and soil water freeze–thaw state, which are reproduced satisfactorily with current z 0m schemes. Further, it is demonstrated that the heat flux simulations are very sensitive to the diurnal variations of z 0h. The newly developed z 0h schemes all capture, at least over the sparse vegetated surfaces during the winter season, the observed diurnal variability much better than the original one. It should, however, be noted that for the dense vegetated surfaces during the spring and monsoon seasons, not all newly developed schemes perform consistently better than the original one. With the most promising schemes, the Noah simulated sensible heat flux, latent heat flux, T sfc, and soil temperature improved for the monsoon season by about 29%, 79%, 75%, and 81%, respectively. In addition, the impact of T sfc calculation and energy balance closure associated with measurement uncertainties on the above findings are discussed, and the selection of the appropriate z 0h scheme for applications is addressed.

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Donghai Zheng, Rogier van der Velde, Zhongbo Su, Xin Wang, Jun Wen, Martijn J. Booij, Arjen Y. Hoekstra, and Yingying Chen

Abstract

This is the first part of a study focusing on evaluating the performance of the Noah land surface model (LSM) in simulating surface water and energy budgets for the high-elevation source region of the Yellow River (SRYR). A comprehensive dataset is utilized that includes in situ micrometeorological and profile soil moisture and temperature measurements as well as laboratory soil property measurements of samples collected across the SRYR. Here, the simulation of soil water flow is investigated, while Part II concentrates on the surface heat flux and soil temperature simulations. Three augmentations are proposed: 1) to include the effect of organic matter on soil hydraulic parameterization via the additivity hypothesis, 2) to implement the saturated hydraulic conductivity as an exponentially decaying function with soil depth, and 3) to modify the vertical root distribution to represent the Tibetan conditions characterized by an abundance of roots in the topsoil. The diffusivity form of Richards’ equation is further revised to allow for the simulation of soil water flow across soil layers with different hydraulic properties. Usage of organic matter for calculating the porosity and soil suction improves the agreement between the estimates and laboratory measurements, and the exponential function together with the Kozeny–Carman equation best describes the in situ . Through implementation of the modified hydraulic parameterization alone, the soil moisture underestimation in the upper soil layer under wet conditions is resolved, while the soil moisture profile dynamics are better captured by also including the modified root distribution.

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Donghai Zheng, Rogier van der Velde, Zhongbo Su, Xin Wang, Jun Wen, Martijn J. Booij, Arjen Y. Hoekstra, and Yingying Chen

Abstract

This is the second part of a study on the assessment of the Noah land surface model (LSM) in simulating surface water and energy budgets in the high-elevation source region of the Yellow River. Here, there is a focus on turbulent heat fluxes and heat transport through the soil column during the monsoon season, whereas the first part of this study deals with the soil water flow. Four augmentations are studied for mitigating the overestimation of turbulent heat flux and underestimation of soil temperature measurements: 1) the muting effect of vegetation on the thermal heat conductivity is removed from the transport of heat from the first to the second soil layer, 2) the exponential decay factor imposed on is calculated using the ratio of the leaf area index (LAI) over the green vegetation fraction (GVF), 3) Zilitinkevich’s empirical coefficient for turbulent heat transport is computed as a function of the momentum roughness length , and 4) the impact of organic matter is considered in the parameterization of the thermal heat properties. Although usage of organic matter for calculating improves the correspondence between the estimates and laboratory measurements of heat conductivities, it is shown to have a relatively small impact on the Noah LSM performance even for large organic matter contents. In contrast, the removal of the muting effect of vegetation on and the parameterization of greatly enhances the soil temperature profile simulations, whereas turbulent heat flux and surface temperature computations mostly benefit from the modified formulation. Further, the nighttime surface temperature overestimation is resolved from a coupled land–atmosphere perspective.

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Ying Huang, M. Suhyb Salama, Zhongbo Su, Rogier van der Velde, Donghai Zheng, Maarten S. Krol, Arjen Y. Hoekstra, and Yunxuan Zhou

Abstract

Current land surface models (LSMs) tend to largely underestimate the daytime land surface temperature for high-altitude regions. This is partly because of underestimation of heat transfer resistance, which may be resolved through adequate parameterization of roughness lengths for momentum and heat transfer. In this paper, the regional-scale effects of the roughness length parameterizations for alpine grasslands are addressed and the performance of the Noah LSM using the updated roughness lengths compared to the original ones is assessed. The simulations were verified with various satellite products and validated with ground-based observations. More specifically, four experimental setups were designed using two roughness length schemes with two different parameterizations of (original and updated). These experiments were conducted in the source region of the Yangtze River during the period 2005–10 using the Noah LSM. The results show that the updated parameterizations of roughness lengths reduce the mean biases of the simulated daytime in spring, autumn, and winter by up to 2.7 K, whereas larger warm biases are produced in summer. Moreover, model efficiency coefficients (Nash–Sutcliffe) of the monthly runoff results are improved by up to 26.3% when using the updated roughness parameterizations. In addition, the spatial effects of the roughness length parameterizations on the simulations are discussed. This study stresses the importance of proper parameterizations of and for LSMs and highlights the need for regional adaptation of the and values.

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Rolf H. Reichle, Gabrielle J. M. De Lannoy, Qing Liu, Joseph V. Ardizzone, Andreas Colliander, Austin Conaty, Wade Crow, Thomas J. Jackson, Lucas A. Jones, John S. Kimball, Randal D. Koster, Sarith P. Mahanama, Edmond B. Smith, Aaron Berg, Simone Bircher, David Bosch, Todd G. Caldwell, Michael Cosh, Ángel González-Zamora, Chandra D. Holifield Collins, Karsten H. Jensen, Stan Livingston, Ernesto Lopez-Baeza, José Martínez-Fernández, Heather McNairn, Mahta Moghaddam, Anna Pacheco, Thierry Pellarin, John Prueger, Tracy Rowlandson, Mark Seyfried, Patrick Starks, Zhongbo Su, Marc Thibeault, Rogier van der Velde, Jeffrey Walker, Xiaoling Wu, and Yijian Zeng

Abstract

The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission Level-4 Surface and Root-Zone Soil Moisture (L4_SM) data product is generated by assimilating SMAP L-band brightness temperature observations into the NASA Catchment land surface model. The L4_SM product is available from 31 March 2015 to present (within 3 days from real time) and provides 3-hourly, global, 9-km resolution estimates of surface (0–5 cm) and root-zone (0–100 cm) soil moisture and land surface conditions. This study presents an overview of the L4_SM algorithm, validation approach, and product assessment versus in situ measurements. Core validation sites provide spatially averaged surface (root zone) soil moisture measurements for 43 (17) “reference pixels” at 9- and 36-km gridcell scales located in 17 (7) distinct watersheds. Sparse networks provide point-scale measurements of surface (root zone) soil moisture at 406 (311) locations. Core validation site results indicate that the L4_SM product meets its soil moisture accuracy requirement, specified as an unbiased RMSE (ubRMSE, or standard deviation of the error) of 0.04 m3 m−3 or better. The ubRMSE for L4_SM surface (root zone) soil moisture is 0.038 m3 m−3 (0.030 m3 m−3) at the 9-km scale and 0.035 m3 m−3 (0.026 m3 m−3) at the 36-km scale. The L4_SM estimates improve (significantly at the 5% level for surface soil moisture) over model-only estimates, which do not benefit from the assimilation of SMAP brightness temperature observations and have a 9-km surface (root zone) ubRMSE of 0.042 m3 m−3 (0.032 m3 m−3). Time series correlations exhibit similar relative performance. The sparse network results corroborate these findings over a greater variety of climate and land cover conditions.

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