Assessment of a high-resolution climate model for surface water and energy flux simulations over global land: An intercomparison with reanalyses

Di Tian, Ming Pan, Eric F. Wood

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4 Scopus citations


Land surface water and energy fluxes from the ensemble mean of the Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP) simulations of a Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) high-resolution climate model (AM2.5) were evaluated using offline simulations of a calibrated land surface model [Princeton Global Forcing (PGF)/VIC] and intercompared with three reanalysis datasets: MERRA-Land, ERA-Interim/Land, and CFSR. Using PGF/VIC as the reference, the AM2.5 precipitation, evapotranspiration, and runoff showed a global positive bias of ~0.44, ~0.27, and ~0.15 mm day-1, respectively. For the energy budget, while the AM2.5 net radiation agreed very well with the PGF/VIC, the AM2.5 improperly partitioned the net radiation, with the latent heat showing positive bias and sensible heat showing negative bias. The AM2.5 net radiation, latent heat, and sensible heat relative to the PGF/VIC had a global negative bias of ~1.42 W m-2, positive bias of ~7.8 W m-2, and negative bias of ~8.7 W m-2, respectively. The three reanalyses show greater biases in net radiation, likely due to the deficiencies in cloud parameterizations. At a regional scale, the biases of the AM2.5 water and energy budget components are mostly comparable to the three reanalyses and PGF/VIC. While the AM2.5 well simulated the actual values of water and energy fluxes, the temporal anomaly correlations of the three reanalyses with PGF/VIC were mostly greater than the AM2.5, partly due to the ensemble mean of the AM2.5 members averaging out the intrinsic variability of the land surface fluxes. The discrepancies among land surface model simulations, reanalyses, and high-resolution climate model simulations demonstrate the challenges in estimating and evaluating land surface hydrologic fluxes at regional-to-global scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1115-1129
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • Energy budget/balance
  • Hydrology
  • Land surface model
  • Water budget


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