Michael Barlage


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Cooling Effects Revealed by Modeling of Wetlands and Land‐Atmosphere Interactions
Zhe Zhang, Fei Chen, Michael Barlage, Lauren E. Bortolotti, J. S. Famiglietti, Zhenhua Li, Ma Xiao, Yanping Li
Water Resources Research, Volume 58, Issue 3

Wetlands are important ecosystems—they provide vital hydrological and ecological services such as regulating floods, storing carbon, and providing wildlife habitat. The ability to simulate their spatial extents and hydrological processes is important for valuing wetlands' function. The purpose of this study is to dynamically represent the spatial extents and hydrological processes of wetlands and investigate their feedback to regional climate in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North America, where a large number of wetlands exist. In this study, we incorporated a wetland scheme into the Noah-MP land surface model with two major modifications: (a) modifying the subgrid saturation fraction for spatial wetland extent and (b) incorporating a dynamic wetland storage to simulate hydrological processes. This scheme was evaluated at a fen site in central Saskatchewan, Canada and applied regionally in the PPR with 13-year climate forcing produced by a high-resolution convection-permitting model. The differences between wetland and no-wetland simulations are significant, with increasing latent heat and evapotranspiration while suppressing sensible heat and runoff in the wetland scheme. Finally, the dynamic wetland scheme was applied in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The wetlands scheme not only modifies the surface energy balance but also interacts with the lower atmosphere, shallowing the planetary boundary layer height and promoting cloud formation. A cooling effect of 1–3°C in summer temperature is evident where wetlands are abundant. In particular, the wetland simulation shows reduction in the number of hot days for >10 days over the summer of 2006, when a long-lasting heatwave occurred. This research has great implications for land surface/regional climate modeling and wetland conservation, especially in mitigating extreme heatwaves under climate change.


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Joint Modeling of Crop and Irrigation in the central United States Using the Noah‐MP Land Surface Model
Zhe Zhang, Michael Barlage, Fei Chen, Yanping Li, Warren Helgason, Xiaoyu Xu, Xing Liu, Zhenhua Li
Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, Volume 12, Issue 7

Representing climate-crop interactions is critical to earth system modeling. Despite recent progress in modeling dynamic crop growth and irrigation in land surface models (LSMs), transitioning thes...

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Modeling groundwater responses to climate change in the Prairie Pothole Region
Zhang Zhe, Yanping Li, Michael Barlage, Fei Chen, Gonzalo Miguez‐Macho, A. M. Ireson, Zhenhua Li
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Volume 24, Issue 2

Abstract. Shallow groundwater in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) is predominantly recharged by snowmelt in the spring and supplies water for evapotranspiration through the summer and fall. This two-way exchange is underrepresented in current land surface models. Furthermore, the impacts of climate change on the groundwater recharge rates are uncertain. In this paper, we use a coupled land–groundwater model to investigate the hydrological cycle of shallow groundwater in the PPR and study its response to climate change at the end of the 21st century. The results show that the model does a reasonably good job of simulating the timing of recharge. The mean water table depth (WTD) is well simulated, except for the fact that the model predicts a deep WTD in northwestern Alberta. The most significant change under future climate conditions occurs in the winter, when warmer temperatures change the rain/snow partitioning, delaying the time for snow accumulation/soil freezing while advancing early melting/thawing. Such changes lead to an earlier start to a longer recharge season but with lower recharge rates. Different signals are shown in the eastern and western PPR in the future summer, with reduced precipitation and drier soils in the east but little change in the west. The annual recharge increased by 25 % and 50 % in the eastern and western PPR, respectively. Additionally, we found that the mean and seasonal variation of the simulated WTD are sensitive to soil properties; thus, fine-scale soil information is needed to improve groundwater simulation on the regional scale.


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Using 4-km WRF CONUS simulations to assess impacts of the surface coupling strength on regional climate simulation
Liang Chen, Yanping Li, Fei Chen, Michael Barlage, Zhe Zhang, Zhenhua Li
Climate Dynamics, Volume 53, Issue 9-10

Uncertainties in representing land–atmosphere interactions can substantially influence regional climate simulations. Among these uncertainties, the surface exchange coefficient Ch is a critical parameter, controlling the total energy transported from the land surface to the atmosphere. Although it directly impacts the coupling strength between the surface and atmosphere, it has not been properly evaluated for regional climate models. This study assesses the representation of surface coupling strength in a stand-alone Noah-MP land surface model and in coupled 4-km Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model simulations. The data collected at eight FLUXNET sites of the Canadian Carbon Program and seven AMRIFLUX sites are used to evaluate the offline Noah-MP simulations. Nine of these FLUXNET sites are used for the evaluation of the coupled WRF simulations. These sites are categorized into three land use types: grassland, cropland, and forest. The surface exchange coefficients derived using three formulations in Noah-MP simulations are compared to those calculated from observations. Then, the default Czil  = 0 and new canopy-height dependent Czil are used in coupled WRF simulations over the spring and summer in 2006 to compare their effects on surface heat flux, temperature, and precipitation. When the new canopy-height dependent Czil scheme is used, the simulated Ch exchange coefficient agrees better with observation and improves the daily maximum air temperature and heat flux simulation over grassland and cropland in the US Great Plains. Over grassland, the modeled Ch shows a different diurnal cycle than that for observed Ch, which makes WRF lag behind the observed diurnal cycle of sensible heat flux and temperature. The difference in precipitation between the two schemes is not as clear as the temperature difference because the impact of changing Ch is not local.


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Evaluation of convection-permitting WRF CONUS simulation on the relationship between soil moisture and heatwaves
Zhe Zhang, Yanping Li, Fei Chen, Michael Barlage, Zhenhua Li
Climate Dynamics, Volume 55, Issue 1-2

Soil moisture plays an important role in modulating regional climate from sub-seasonal to seasonal timescales. Particularly important, soil moisture deficits can amplify summer heatwaves (HWs) through soil moisture-temperature feedback which has critical impacts on society, economy and human health. In this study, we evaluate decade-long convection-permitting Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model simulations over the contiguous US on simulating heatwaves and their relationship with antecedent soil moisture using a dense observational network. We showed that the WRF model is capable of capturing the spatial patten of temperature threshold to define HWs, though the simulation shows a warm bias in the Midwest and cold bias in western mountainous regions. Two HW indices, based on frequency (HWF) and magnitude (HWM), are evaluated. Significant anti-correlations between antecedent soil moisture and both HW indices have been found in most parts of the domain except the South Pacific Coast. A detailed study has been conducted for the Midwest and South Great Plains regions, where two heatwaves had occurred in the last decade. In both regions, the high quantile of the HWF distribution shows a strong dependence on antecedent soil moisture: drier soil leads to much larger increase on the upper quantile of HWF than it does on the lower quantile. Soil moisture effects on the higher end of HWM are not as strong as on the lower end: wetter antecedent soil corresponds to a larger decrease on the lower quantile of HWM. WRF captures the heterogeneous responses to dry soil on HWF distribution in both regions, but overestimates these HWM responses in the Midwest and underestimates them in the South Great Plains. Our results show confidence in WRF’s ability to simulate HW characteristics and the impacts of antecedent soil moisture on HWs. These are also important implications for using high-resolution convection-permitting mode to study the coupling between land and atmosphere.