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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2020-165
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2020-165
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: model evaluation paper 07 Aug 2020

Submitted as: model evaluation paper | 07 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

ISBA-MEB (SURFEX v8.1): model snow evaluation for local-scale forest sites

Adrien Napoly1, Aaron Boone1, and Théo Welfringer2 Adrien Napoly et al.
  • 1CNRM-Université de Toulouse, Météo-France/CNRS, Toulouse, France
  • 2National School for Water and Environmental Engineering (ENGEES), Strasbourg, France

Abstract. An accurate modelling of the effect of snow cover on the surface energy and mass fluxes is required from land surface models. The Interactions between Soil–Biosphere–Atmosphere (ISBA) model adopts a default configuration using a composite soil-vegetation energy budget approach which is shown to have certain limitations for representing snow and soil phase change processes in areas of high vegetation cover since it does not explicitly represent the snow pack lying on the ground below the canopy. In particular, previous studies using ISBA have pointed out that the snowpack ablation tends to occur to early in the season in forest regions in the northern hemisphere. The multi-energy balance (MEB) version of ISBA has been developed recently, to a large degree, to address this issue. A vegetation layer, which is distinct from the soil, has been added to ISBA and new processes are now explicitly represented such as snow interception and an under-story litter layer. To evaluate the behavior of this new scheme in a cold forested region, long-term offline simulations have been performed for the three Berms forest sites located in Saskatchewan, Canada. It is shown that the new scheme leads to an improved energy budget representation, especially in terms of the ground and sensible heat fluxes, with decreases in RMSE of 77 and 18 %, respectively. A consistent positive impact for soil temperatures is obtained, particularly in terms of bias which is reduced from −6.2 to −0.1 K at a 10 cm soil depth on average for the three sites and 12 studied years. The impact of using MEB on the snowpack simulation is in a better agreement with observations during the snow season, especially in terms of the time of ablation: errors are on the order of 1 day averaged over the 3 sites and all of the years using MEB, which represents a reduction in error of 20 days compared to the composite scheme. The analysis shows that this improvement is mostly cause by the ability of MEB to represent a snowpack that nearly completely covers the soil below the canopy decouples the soil from the atmosphere while keeping a close coupling between the vegetation and the atmosphere.

Adrien Napoly et al.

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Adrien Napoly et al.

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Latest update: 28 Sep 2020
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Short summary
An accurate modeling of the snow impact on the surface energy and mass fluxes is required from land surface models. The new version of the model improves the representation of the snowpack. In particular, it prevents that its ablation occurs to early in the season, which also leads to better soil temperatures and energy fluxes toward the atmosphere. This was made possible with a more explicit and distinct representation of each layers that constitute the surface (soil, snow, vegetation).
An accurate modeling of the snow impact on the surface energy and mass fluxes is required from...
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