Coupling groundwater, vegetation, and atmospheric processes: A comparison of two integrated models

Mauro Sulis, John L. Williams, Prabhakar Shrestha, Malte Diederich, Clemens Simmer, Stefan J. Kollet, Reed M. Maxwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This study compares two modeling platforms, ParFlow.WRF (PF.WRF) and the Terrestrial Systems Modeling Platform (TerrSysMP), with a common 3D integrated surface-groundwater model to examine the variability in simulated soil-vegetation-atmosphere interactions. Idealized and hindcast simulations over the North Rhine-Westphalia region in western Germany for clear-sky conditions and strong convective precipitation using both modeling platforms are presented. Idealized simulations highlight the strong variability introduced by the difference in land surface parameterizations (e.g., ground evaporation and canopy transpiration) and atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) schemes on the simulated land-atmosphere interactions. Results of the idealized simulations also suggest a different range of sensitivity in the two models of land surface and atmospheric parameterizations to water-table depth fluctuations. For hindcast simulations, both modeling platforms simulate net radiation and cumulative precipitation close to observed station data, while larger differences emerge between spatial patterns of soil moisture and convective rainfall due to the difference in the physical parameterization of the land surface and atmospheric component. This produces a different feedback by the hydrological model in the two platforms in terms of discharge over different catchments in the study area. Finally, an analysis of land surface and ABL heat and moisture budgets using the mixing diagram approach reveals different sensitivities of diurnal atmospheric processes to the groundwater parameterizations in both modeling platforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1489-1511
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • Coupled models
  • Hydrologic models
  • Land surface model
  • Regional models


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