Articles | Volume 8, issue 5
Development and technical paper
18 May 2015
Development and technical paper |  | 18 May 2015

Advancement toward coupling of the VAMPER permafrost model within the Earth system model iLOVECLIM (version 1.0): description and validation

D. C. Kitover, R. van Balen, D. M. Roche, J. Vandenberghe, and H. Renssen

Abstract. The VU Amsterdam Permafrost (VAMPER) permafrost model has been enhanced with snow thickness and active layer calculations in preparation for coupling within the iLOVECLIM Earth system model of intermediate complexity (EMIC). In addition, maps of basal heat flux and lithology were developed within ECBilt, the atmosphere component of iLOVECLIM, so that VAMPER may use spatially varying parameters of geothermal heat flux and porosity values. The enhanced VAMPER model is validated by comparing the simulated modern-day extent of permafrost thickness with observations. To perform the simulations, the VAMPER model is forced by iLOVECLIM land surface temperatures. Results show that the simulation which did not include the snow cover option overestimated the present permafrost extent. However, when the snow component is included, the simulated permafrost extent is reduced too much. In analyzing simulated permafrost depths, it was found that most of the modeled thickness values and subsurface temperatures fall within a reasonable range of the corresponding observed values. Discrepancies between simulated and observed permafrost depth distribution are due to lack of captured effects from features such as topography and organic soil layers. In addition, some discrepancy is also due to disequilibrium with the current climate, meaning that some observed permafrost is a result of colder states and therefore cannot be reproduced accurately with constant iLOVECLIM preindustrial forcings.