Articles | Volume 9, issue 8
Development and technical paper
25 Aug 2016
Development and technical paper |  | 25 Aug 2016

Land-surface parameter optimisation using data assimilation techniques: the adJULES system V1.0

Nina M. Raoult, Tim E. Jupp, Peter M. Cox, and Catherine M. Luke

Abstract. Land-surface models (LSMs) are crucial components of the Earth system models (ESMs) that are used to make coupled climate–carbon cycle projections for the 21st century. The Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES) is the land-surface model used in the climate and weather forecast models of the UK Met Office. JULES is also extensively used offline as a land-surface impacts tool, forced with climatologies into the future. In this study, JULES is automatically differentiated with respect to JULES parameters using commercial software from FastOpt, resulting in an analytical gradient, or adjoint, of the model. Using this adjoint, the adJULES parameter estimation system has been developed to search for locally optimum parameters by calibrating against observations. This paper describes adJULES in a data assimilation framework and demonstrates its ability to improve the model–data fit using eddy-covariance measurements of gross primary production (GPP) and latent heat (LE) fluxes. adJULES also has the ability to calibrate over multiple sites simultaneously. This feature is used to define new optimised parameter values for the five plant functional types (PFTs) in JULES. The optimised PFT-specific parameters improve the performance of JULES at over 85 % of the sites used in the study, at both the calibration and evaluation stages. The new improved parameters for JULES are presented along with the associated uncertainties for each parameter.

Short summary
We present a set of "optimal" parameter values used to describe the influence of vegetation in a numerical climate model, and the software suite that we developed to find it. Observational data from ~ 100 locations were used, and the optimal parameters improve the fit in 90 % of the locations. The new parameter values will allow the climate model to give better predictions, and our software should prove useful in future calibrations.