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Journal Articles Geoscientific Model Development Year : 2022

Impacts of a revised surface roughness parameterization in the Community Land Model 5.1

Ronny Meier
  • Function : Author
Edouard L. Davin
  • Function : Author
Gordon B. Bonan
  • Function : Author
David M. Lawrence
  • Function : Author
Xiaolong Hu
  • Function : Author
Gregory Duveiller
  • Function : Author
Sonia I. Seneviratne
  • Function : Author


The roughness of the land surface (z0) is a key property, exerting significant influence on the amount of near-surface turbulent activity and consequently the turbulent exchange of energy, water, momentum, and chemical species between the land and the atmosphere. Variations in z0 are substantial across different types of land cover, ranging from typically less than 1 mm over fresh snow or sand deserts up to more than 1 m over urban areas or forests. In this study, we revise the parameterizations and parameter choices related to z0 in the Community Land Model 5.1 (CLM), the land component of the Community Earth System Model (CESM). We propose a number modifications for z0 in CLM, guided by observational data. Most importantly, we find that the observations support an increase in z0 for all types of forests and a decrease in the momentum z0 for bare soil, snow, glaciers, and crops. We then assess the effect of those modifications in land-only and land-atmosphere coupled simulations. With the revised parameterizations, diurnal variations of the land surface temperature (LST) are dampened in forested regions and are amplified over warm deserts. These changes mitigate model biases compared to MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) remote sensing observations. The changes in LST are generally stronger during the day than at night. For example, the LST increases by 5.1 K at 13:30 local solar time but only by 0.6 K at 01:30 during boreal summer across the entire Sahara. The induced changes in the diurnal variability of near-surface air temperatures are generally of the opposite sign and of smaller magnitude. Near-surface winds accelerate in areas where the momentum z0 was lowered, such as the Sahara, the Middle East, and Antarctica, and decelerate in regions with forests. Overall, this study finds that the current representation of z0 in CLM is not in agreement with observational constraints for several types of land cover. The proposed model modifications are shown to considerably alter the simulated climate in terms of temperatures and wind speed at the land surface.
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Dates and versions

insu-03717122 , version 1 (09-07-2022)





Ronny Meier, Edouard L. Davin, Gordon B. Bonan, David M. Lawrence, Xiaolong Hu, et al.. Impacts of a revised surface roughness parameterization in the Community Land Model 5.1. Geoscientific Model Development, 2022, 15, pp.2365-2393. ⟨10.5194/gmd-15-2365-2022⟩. ⟨insu-03717122⟩
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