Articles | Volume 10, issue 4
Model evaluation paper
18 Apr 2017
Model evaluation paper |  | 18 Apr 2017

The interactions between soil–biosphere–atmosphere (ISBA) land surface model multi-energy balance (MEB) option in SURFEXv8 – Part 2: Introduction of a litter formulation and model evaluation for local-scale forest sites

Adrien Napoly, Aaron Boone, Patrick Samuelsson, Stefan Gollvik, Eric Martin, Roland Seferian, Dominique Carrer, Bertrand Decharme, and Lionel Jarlan

Abstract. Land surface models (LSMs) need to balance a complicated trade-off between computational cost and complexity in order to adequately represent the exchanges of energy, water and matter with the atmosphere and the ocean. Some current generation LSMs use a simplified or composite canopy approach that generates recurrent errors in simulated soil temperature and turbulent fluxes. In response to these issues, a new version of the interactions between soil–biosphere–atmosphere (ISBA) land surface model has recently been developed that explicitly solves the transfer of energy and water from the upper canopy and the forest floor, which is characterized as a litter layer. The multi-energy balance (MEB) version of ISBA is first evaluated for three well-instrumented contrasting local-scale sites, and sensitivity tests are performed to explore the behavior of new model parameters. Second, ISBA-MEB is benchmarked against observations from 42 forested sites from the global micro-meteorological network (FLUXNET) for multiple annual cycles.

It is shown that ISBA-MEB outperforms the composite version of ISBA in improving the representation of soil temperature, ground, sensible and, to a lesser extent, latent heat fluxes. Both versions of ISBA give comparable results in terms of simulated latent heat flux because of the similar formulations of the water uptake and the stomatal resistance. However, MEB produces a better agreement with the observations of sensible heat flux than the previous version of ISBA for 87.5 % of the simulated years across the 42 forested FLUXNET sites. Most of this improvement arises owing to the improved simulation of the ground conduction flux, which is greatly improved using MEB, especially owing to the forest litter parameterization. It is also shown that certain processes are also modeled more realistically (such as the partitioning of evapotranspiration into transpiration and ground evaporation), even if certain statistical performances are neutral. The analyses demonstrate that the shading effect of the vegetation, the explicit treatment of turbulent transfer for the canopy and ground, and the insulating thermal and hydrological effects of the forest floor litter turn out to be essential for simulating the exchange of energy, water and matter across a large range of forest types and climates.

Short summary
This paper is the second part of a new parameterization for canopy representation that has been developed in the Interactions between the Surface Biosphere Atmosphere model (ISBA). A module for the explicit representation of the litter bellow forest canopies has been added. Then, the first evaluation of these new developments is performed at local scale among three well-instrumented sites and then at the global scale using the FLUXNET network.