Evaluating GCM Land Surface Hydrology Parameterizations by Computing River Discharges Using a Runoff Routing Model: Application to the Mississippi Basin

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  • a Universities Space Research Association, NASA 1Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | b Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | c Water Resources Program, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
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Abstract

To relate general circulation model (GCM) hydrologic output to readily available river hydrographic data, a runoff routing scheme that routes gridded runoffs through regional- or continental-scale river drainage basins is developed. By following the basin overland flow paths, the routing model generates river discharge hydrographs that can be compared to observed river discharges, thus allowing an analysis of the GCM representation of monthly, seasonal and annual water balances over large regions. The runoff routing model consists of two linear reservoirs a surface reservoir and a groundwater reservoir, which store and transport water. The water transport mechanisms operating within these two reservoirs are differentiated by their time scares, the groundwater reservoir transports water much more slowly than the surface reservoir. The groundwater reservoir feeds the corresponding surface store and the surface stores are connected via the river network.

The routing model is implemented over the GEWEX (Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment) Continental-Scale International Project Mississippi River basin on a rectangular grid of 2° × 2.5°. Two land surface hydrology parameterizations provide the gridded runoff data required to run the runoff routing scheme: the variable infiltration capacity model, and the soil moisture component of the simple biosphere model. These parameterizations are driven with 4° × 51° gridded climatological potential evapotranspiration and 1979 First GARP (Global Atmospheric Research Program) Global Experiment precipitation. These investigations have quantified the importance of physically realistic soil moisture holding capacities evaporation parameters and runoff mechanisms in land surface hydrology formulations.

Abstract

To relate general circulation model (GCM) hydrologic output to readily available river hydrographic data, a runoff routing scheme that routes gridded runoffs through regional- or continental-scale river drainage basins is developed. By following the basin overland flow paths, the routing model generates river discharge hydrographs that can be compared to observed river discharges, thus allowing an analysis of the GCM representation of monthly, seasonal and annual water balances over large regions. The runoff routing model consists of two linear reservoirs a surface reservoir and a groundwater reservoir, which store and transport water. The water transport mechanisms operating within these two reservoirs are differentiated by their time scares, the groundwater reservoir transports water much more slowly than the surface reservoir. The groundwater reservoir feeds the corresponding surface store and the surface stores are connected via the river network.

The routing model is implemented over the GEWEX (Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment) Continental-Scale International Project Mississippi River basin on a rectangular grid of 2° × 2.5°. Two land surface hydrology parameterizations provide the gridded runoff data required to run the runoff routing scheme: the variable infiltration capacity model, and the soil moisture component of the simple biosphere model. These parameterizations are driven with 4° × 51° gridded climatological potential evapotranspiration and 1979 First GARP (Global Atmospheric Research Program) Global Experiment precipitation. These investigations have quantified the importance of physically realistic soil moisture holding capacities evaporation parameters and runoff mechanisms in land surface hydrology formulations.

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