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Yuqiong Liu, Luis A. Bastidas, Hoshin V. Gupta, and Soroosh Sorooshian

Abstract

Surface water and energy balance plays an important role in land surface models, especially in coupled land surface–atmospheric models due to the complicated interactions between land surfaces and the overlying atmosphere. The primary purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the significant negative impacts that a minor deficiency in the parameterization of canopy evaporation may have on offline and coupled land surface model simulations. In this research, using the offline NCAR Land Surface Model (LSM) and the locally coupled NCAR Single-column Community Climate Model (SCCM) as examples, intensive effort has been focused on the exploration of the mechanisms involved in the activation of unrealistically high canopy evaporation and thus unreasonable surface energy partitions because of a minor deficiency in the parameterization of canopy evaporation. The main causes responsible for exacerbating the impacts of the deficiency of the land surface model through the coupling of the two components are analyzed, along with possible impacts of land surface parameters in triggering the problems. Results from experimental runs show that, for a large number of randomly generated physically realistic land surface parameter sets, this model deficiency has caused the occurrences of negative canopy water with a significantly high frequency for both the offline NCAR LSM and the coupled NCAR SCCM, suggesting that land surface parameters are not the only important factors in triggering the problems associated with the model deficiency. In addition, the concurrence of intense solar radiation and enough precipitation is identified to be mainly responsible for exacerbating the negative impacts of the parameterization deficiency. Finally, a simple adjustment has been made in this study to effectively prevent the occurrences of negative canopy water storages, leading to significantly improved model performances.

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Sujay V. Kumar, Christa D. Peters-Lidard, Kristi R. Arsenault, Augusto Getirana, David Mocko, and Yuqiong Liu

Abstract

Accurate determination of snow conditions is important for several water management applications, partly because of the significant influence of snowmelt on seasonal streamflow prediction. This article examines an approach using snow cover area (SCA) observations as snow detection constraints during the assimilation of snow depth retrievals from passive microwave sensors. Two different SCA products [the Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)] are employed jointly with the snow depth retrievals from a variety of sensors for data assimilation in the Noah land surface model. The results indicate that the use of MODIS data is effective in obtaining added improvements (up to 6% improvement in aggregate RMSE) in snow depth fields compared to assimilating passive microwave data alone, whereas the impact of IMS data is small. The improvements in snow depth fields are also found to translate to small yet systematic improvements in streamflow estimates, especially over the western United States, the upper Missouri River, and parts of the Northeast and upper Mississippi River. This study thus demonstrates a simple approach for exploiting the information from SCA observations in data assimilation.

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Limin Wu, Yu Zhang, Thomas Adams, Haksu Lee, Yuqiong Liu, and John Schaake

Abstract

Natural weather systems possess certain spatiotemporal variability and correlations. Preserving these spatiotemporal properties is a significant challenge in postprocessing ensemble weather forecasts. To address this challenge, several rank-based methods, the Schaake Shuffle and its variants, have been developed in recent years. This paper presents an extensive assessment of the Schaake Shuffle and its two variants. These schemes differ in how the reference multivariate rank structure is established. The first scheme (SS-CLM), an implementation of the original Schaake Shuffle method, relies on climatological observations to construct rank structures. The second scheme (SS-ANA) utilizes precipitation event analogs obtained from a historical archive of observations. The third scheme (SS-ENS) employs ensemble members from the Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS). Each of the three schemes is applied to postprocess precipitation ensemble forecasts from the GEFS for its first three forecast days over the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. In general, the effectiveness of these schemes depends on several factors, including the season (or precipitation pattern) and the level of gridcell aggregation. It is found that 1) the SS-CLM and SS-ANA behave similarly in spatial and temporal correlations; 2) by a measure for capturing spatial variability, the SS-ENS outperforms the SS-ANA, which in turn outperforms the SS-CLM; and 3), overall, the SS-ANA performs better than the SS-CLM. The study also reveals that it is important to choose a proper size for the postprocessed ensembles in order to capture extreme precipitation events.

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Yuqiong Liu, Hoshin V. Gupta, Soroosh Sorooshian, Luis A. Bastidas, and William J. Shuttleworth

Abstract

In coupled land surface–atmosphere modeling, the possibility and benefits of constraining model parameters using observational data bear investigation. Using the locally coupled NCAR Single-column Community Climate Model (NCAR SCCM), this study demonstrates some feasible, effective approaches to constrain parameter estimates for coupled land–atmosphere models and explores the effects of including both land surface and atmospheric parameters and fluxes/variables in the parameter estimation process, as well as the value of conducting the process in a stepwise manner. The results indicate that the use of both land surface and atmospheric flux variables to construct error criteria can lead to better-constrained parameter sets. The model with “optimal” parameters generally performs better than when a priori parameters are used, especially when some atmospheric parameters are included in the parameter estimation process. The overall conclusion is that, to achieve balanced, reasonable model performance on all variables, it is desirable to optimize both land surface and atmospheric parameters and use both land surface and atmospheric fluxes/variables for error criteria in the optimization process. The results also show that, for a coupled land–atmosphere model, there are potential advantages to using a stepwise procedure in which the land surface parameters are first identified in offline mode, after which the atmospheric parameters are determined in coupled mode. This stepwise scheme appears to provide comparable solutions to a fully coupled approach, but with considerably reduced computational time. The trade-off in the ability of a model to satisfactorily simulate different processes simultaneously, as observed in most multicriteria studies, is most evident for sensible heat and precipitation in this study for the NCAR SCCM.

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Sujay V. Kumar, Christa D. Peters-Lidard, David Mocko, Rolf Reichle, Yuqiong Liu, Kristi R. Arsenault, Youlong Xia, Michael Ek, George Riggs, Ben Livneh, and Michael Cosh

Abstract

The accurate knowledge of soil moisture and snow conditions is important for the skillful characterization of agricultural and hydrologic droughts, which are defined as deficits of soil moisture and streamflow, respectively. This article examines the influence of remotely sensed soil moisture and snow depth retrievals toward improving estimates of drought through data assimilation. Soil moisture and snow depth retrievals from a variety of sensors (primarily passive microwave based) are assimilated separately into the Noah land surface model for the period of 1979–2011 over the continental United States, in the North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS) configuration. Overall, the assimilation of soil moisture and snow datasets was found to provide marginal improvements over the open-loop configuration. Though the improvements in soil moisture fields through soil moisture data assimilation were barely at the statistically significant levels, these small improvements were found to translate into subsequent small improvements in simulated streamflow. The assimilation of snow depth datasets were found to generally improve the snow fields, but these improvements did not always translate to corresponding improvements in streamflow, including some notable degradations observed in the western United States. A quantitative examination of the percentage drought area from root-zone soil moisture and streamflow percentiles was conducted against the U.S. Drought Monitor data. The results suggest that soil moisture assimilation provides improvements at short time scales, both in the magnitude and representation of the spatial patterns of drought estimates, whereas the impact of snow data assimilation was marginal and often disadvantageous.

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