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Collaborative Research: A Land Surface Model Hind-cast of the Terrestrial Arctic Drainage System

NSFThis project is funded by NSF OPP grant 0229769


To use different land surface models to examine patterns, variability, and trends in land surface energy exchanges and surface state variables across the pan-Arctic landmass


Mark Serreze, Andrew G. Slater, and D. Lettenmaier (University of Washington)

Project Summary

We are using five land surface models (CHASM, Noah, CLM, VIC, ECMWF), which represent a wide range of model physics, particularly with respect to high-latitude processes. Initial runs forced each model with surface meteorology derived from the ERA-40 reanalysis. Further studies will employ ensemble approaches, where the five models are forced by a suite of different forcing (e.g., replacing ERA-40 precipitation with gridded fields based on surface observations). This approach offers great potential for enlightenment regarding large scale hydrology in this poorly observed region. Results reveal up to a 30 percent difference in annual partitioning of precipitation between evaporation and runoff within major Arctic watersheds such as the Lena. Capturing the correct baseflow of the large rivers is a consistent problem. Compared to station data, all models produce similar errors in snow water equivalent; yet they differ widely in their snow regimes in terms of snowfall quantity, estimated snow depths and most importantly, sublimation rates. Additionally, model albedo is consistently higher than observations in the presence of snow.

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