Articles | Volume 10, issue 1
Geosci. Model Dev., 10, 223–238, 2017

Special issue: The externalised surface model SURFEX

Geosci. Model Dev., 10, 223–238, 2017

Development and technical paper 16 Jan 2017

Development and technical paper | 16 Jan 2017

Reinitialised versus continuous regional climate simulations using ALARO-0 coupled to the land surface model SURFEXv5

Julie Berckmans1,2, Olivier Giot1,2, Rozemien De Troch1,3, Rafiq Hamdi1,3, Reinhart Ceulemans2, and Piet Termonia1,3 Julie Berckmans et al.
  • 1Royal Meteorological Institute, Brussels, Belgium
  • 2Centre of Excellence PLECO (Plant and Vegetation Ecology), Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
  • 3Department of Physics and Astronomy, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Abstract. Dynamical downscaling in a continuous approach using initial and boundary conditions from a reanalysis or a global climate model is a common method for simulating the regional climate. The simulation potential can be improved by applying an alternative approach of reinitialising the atmosphere, combined with either a daily reinitialised or a continuous land surface. We evaluated the dependence of the simulation potential on the running mode of the regional climate model ALARO coupled to the land surface model Météo-France SURFace EXternalisée (SURFEX), and driven by the ERA-Interim reanalysis. Three types of downscaling simulations were carried out for a 10-year period from 1991 to 2000, over a western European domain at 20 km horizontal resolution: (1) a continuous simulation of both the atmosphere and the land surface, (2) a simulation with daily reinitialisations for both the atmosphere and the land surface and (3) a simulation with daily reinitialisations of the atmosphere while the land surface is kept continuous. The results showed that the daily reinitialisation of the atmosphere improved the simulation of the 2 m temperature for all seasons. It revealed a neutral impact on the daily precipitation totals during winter, but the results were improved for the summer when the land surface was kept continuous. The behaviour of the three model configurations varied among different climatic regimes. Their seasonal cycle for the 2 m temperature and daily precipitation totals was very similar for a Mediterranean climate, but more variable for temperate and continental climate regimes. Commonly, the summer climate is characterised by strong interactions between the atmosphere and the land surface. The results for summer demonstrated that the use of a daily reinitialised atmosphere improved the representation of the partitioning of the surface energy fluxes. Therefore, we recommend using the alternative approach of the daily reinitialisation of the atmosphere for the simulation of the regional climate.

Short summary
The regional climate of western Europe was simulated using an atmospheric and land surface model. This study aims at improving the coupling of the models, by applying an alternative method for the update frequency of the atmospheric and soil parameters. The results show that a daily update of the atmosphere and soil outperforms a continuous approach. However, keeping the land surface continuous but having daily atmospheric updates is preferable at times, as it benefits from soil moisture memory.