Climate Dynamics, Volume 53, Issue 9-10

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
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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

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.