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Generation of an empirical soil moisture initialization and its potential impact on subseasonal forecasting skill of continental precipitation and air temperature

Title: Generation of an empirical soil moisture initialization and its potential impact on subseasonal forecasting skill of continental precipitation and air temperature.
Name(s): Boisserie, Marie, author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: text
Issuance: serial
Date Issued: 2010
Physical Form: computer
Physical Form: online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The effect of the PAR technique on the model soil moisture estimates is evaluated using the Global Soil Wetness Project Phase 2 (GSWP-2) multimodel analysis product (used as a proxy for global soil moisture observations) and actual in-situ observations from the state of Illinois. The results show that overall the PAR technique is effective; across most of the globe, the seasonal and anomaly variability of the model soil moisture estimates well reproduce the values of GSWP-2 in the top 1.5 m soil layer; by comparing to in-situ observations in Illinois, we find that the seasonal and anomaly soil moisture variability is also well represented deep into the soil. Therefore, in this study, we produce a new global soil moisture analysis dataset that can be used for many land surface studies (crop modeling, water resource management, soil erosion, etc.). Then, the contribution of the resulting soil moisture analysis (used as initial conditions) on air temperature and precipitation forecasts are investigated. For this, we follow the experimental set up of a model intercomparison study over the time period 1986-1995, the Global Land-Atmosphere Coupling Experiment second phase (GLACE-2), in which the FSU/COAPS climate model has participated. The results of the summertime air temperature forecasts show a significant increase in skill across most of the U.S. at short-term to subseasonal time scales. No increase in summertime precipitation forecasting skill is found at short-term to subseasonal time scales between 1986 and 1995, except for the anomalous drought year of 1988. We also analyze the forecasts of two extreme hydrological events, the 1988 U.S. Drought and the 1993 U.S. flood. In general, the comparison of these two extreme hydrological event forecasts shows greater improvement for the summertime of 1988 than that of 1993, suggesting that soil moisture contributes more to the development of a drought than a flood. This result is consistent with Dirmeyer and Brubaker [1999] and Weaver et al. [2009]. By analyzing the evaporative sources of these two extreme events using the back-trajectory methodology of Dirmeyer and Brubaker [1999], we find similar results as this latter paper; the soil moisture-precipitation feedback mechanism seems to play a greater role during the drought year of 1988 than the flood year of 1993. Finally, the accuracy of this soil moisture initialization depends upon the quality of the precipitation dataset that is assimilated. Because of the lack of observed precipitation at a high temporal resolution (3-hourly) for the study period (1986-1995), a reanalysis product is used for precipitation assimilation in this study. It is important to keep in mind that precipitation data in reanalysis sometimes differ significantly from observations since precipitation is often not assimilated into the reanalysis model. In order to investigate that aspect, a similar analysis to that we performed in this study could be done using the 3-hourly Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) dataset available for a the time period 1998-present. Then, since the TRMM dataset is a fully observational dataset, we expect the soil moisture initialization to be improved over that obtained in this study, which, in turn, may further increase the forecast skill.
Identifier: FSU_migr_coaps_pubs-0002 (IID), fsu:209864 (fedora)
Keywords: Soil moisture, land-atmosphere interactions, climate forecasts
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Meteorology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2010.
Date of Defense: January 26, 2010.
Subject(s): Atmospheric sciences
Soil moisture
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU
Is Part of Series: COAPS Publications.