Articles | Volume 6, issue 4
Geosci. Model Dev., 6, 929–960, 2013

Special issue: The externalised surface model SURFEX

Geosci. Model Dev., 6, 929–960, 2013

Model description paper 16 Jul 2013

Model description paper | 16 Jul 2013

The SURFEXv7.2 land and ocean surface platform for coupled or offline simulation of earth surface variables and fluxes

V. Masson1, P. Le Moigne1, E. Martin1, S. Faroux1, A. Alias1, R. Alkama1, S. Belamari1, A. Barbu1, A. Boone1, F. Bouyssel1, P. Brousseau1, E. Brun1, J.-C. Calvet1, D. Carrer1, B. Decharme1, C. Delire1, S. Donier1, K. Essaouini2, A.-L. Gibelin1,*, H. Giordani1, F. Habets3, M. Jidane2, G. Kerdraon1, E. Kourzeneva4,5, M. Lafaysse1, S. Lafont1, C. Lebeaupin Brossier1, A. Lemonsu1, J.-F. Mahfouf1, P. Marguinaud1, M. Mokhtari6, S. Morin1, G. Pigeon1, R. Salgado7, Y. Seity1, F. Taillefer1, G. Tanguy1, P. Tulet8, B. Vincendon1, V. Vionnet1, and A. Voldoire1 V. Masson et al.
  • 1CNRM/GAME, UMR3589, Météo-France, CNRS, Toulouse and Grenoble, France
  • 2CNRM, Direction de la Météorologie nationale, Casablanca, Morocco
  • 3UMR-SISYPHE, (UPMC, CNRS), Mines-Paristech, Centre de Géosciences, Fontainebleau, France
  • 4Russian State Hydrometeorological University, Malookhtisky Pr., 98, 195196, Saint Petersburg, Russia
  • 5Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, 00101, Helsinki, Finland
  • 6Office National de la Météorologie (ONM), Algiers, Algeria
  • 7Centro de Geofisica de Evora, University of Evora, Evora, Portugal
  • 8LACy, UMR8105, Université de La Réunion, CNRS, Météo-France, Saint-Denis, France
  • *now at: the Direction de la Climatologie, Météo-France, Toulouse, France

Abstract. SURFEX is a new externalized land and ocean surface platform that describes the surface fluxes and the evolution of four types of surfaces: nature, town, inland water and ocean. It is mostly based on pre-existing, well-validated scientific models that are continuously improved. The motivation for the building of SURFEX is to use strictly identical scientific models in a high range of applications in order to mutualise the research and development efforts. SURFEX can be run in offline mode (0-D or 2-D runs) or in coupled mode (from mesoscale models to numerical weather prediction and climate models). An assimilation mode is included for numerical weather prediction and monitoring. In addition to momentum, heat and water fluxes, SURFEX is able to simulate fluxes of carbon dioxide, chemical species, continental aerosols, sea salt and snow particles. The main principles of the organisation of the surface are described first. Then, a survey is made of the scientific module (including the coupling strategy). Finally, the main applications of the code are summarised. The validation work undertaken shows that replacing the pre-existing surface models by SURFEX in these applications is usually associated with improved skill, as the numerous scientific developments contained in this community code are used to good advantage.