Submitted as: model evaluation paper 16 Dec 2021

Submitted as: model evaluation paper | 16 Dec 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

Using an Uncertainty Quantification Framework to Calibrate the Runoff Generation Scheme in E3SM Land Model V1

Donghui Xu1, Gautam Bisht1, Khachik Sargsyan2, Chang Liao1, and L. Ruby Leung1 Donghui Xu et al.
  • 1Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA
  • 2Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, CA, United States

Abstract. Runoff is a critical component of the terrestrial water cycle and Earth System Models (ESMs) are essential tools to study its spatio-temporal variability. Runoff schemes in ESMs typically include many parameters so model calibration is necessary to improve the accuracy of simulated runoff. However, runoff calibration at global scale is challenging because of the high computational cost and the lack of reliable observational datasets. In this study, we calibrated 11 runoff relevant parameters in the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) Land Model (ELM) using an uncertainty quantification framework. First, the Polynomial Chaos Expansion machinery with Bayesian Compressed Sensing is used to construct computationally inexpensive surrogate models for ELM-simulated runoff at 0.5° × 0.5° for 1991–2010. The main methodological advance in this work is the construction of surrogates for the error metric between ELM and the benchmark data, facilitating efficient calibration and avoiding the more conventional, but challenging, construction of high-dimensional surrogates for ELM itself. Second, the Sobol index sensitivity analysis is performed using the surrogate models to identify the most sensitive parameters, and our results show that in most regions ELM-simulated runoff is strongly sensitive to 3 of the 11 uncertain parameters. Third, a Bayesian method is used to infer the optimal values of the most sensitive parameters using an observation-based global runoff dataset as the benchmark. Our results show that model performance is significantly improved with the inferred parameter values. Although the parametric uncertainty of simulated runoff is reduced after the parameter inference, it remains comparable to the multi-model ensemble uncertainty represented by the global hydrological models in ISMIP2a. Additionally, the annual global runoff trend during the simulation period is not well constrained by the inferred parameter values, suggesting the importance of including parametric uncertainty in future runoff projections.

Donghui Xu et al.

Status: open (until 28 Feb 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CEC1: 'Comment on gmd-2021-401', Juan Antonio Añel, 03 Jan 2022 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on CEC1', Donghui Xu, 03 Jan 2022 reply

Donghui Xu et al.


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Short summary
The runoff outputs in Earth System Model simulations are involved with high uncertainty, which needs to be constrained by parameter calibration. In this work, we used an Uncertainty Quantification framework to efficiently calibrate the runoff generation processes in the Energy Exascale Earth System Model V1 at global scale. The model performance was improved compared to the default parameter after calibration, and the associated parametric uncertainty was significantly constrained.