The project for intercomparison of land-surface parameterization schemes (PILPS) phase 2(c) Red-Arkansas River basin experiment: 1. Experiment description and summary intercomparisons

Eric F. Wood, Dennis P. Lettenmaier, Xu Liang, Dag Lohmann, Aaron Boone, Sam Chang, Fei Chen, Yongjiu Dai, Robert E. Dickinson, Qingyun Duan, Michael Ek, Yeugeniy M. Gusev, Florence Habets, Parviz Irannejad, Randy Koster, Kenneth E. Mitchel, Olga N. Nasonova, Joel Noilhan, John Schaake, Adam SchlosserYaping Shao, Andrey B. Shmakin, Diana Verseghy, Kirsten Warrach, Peter Wetzel, Yongkang Xue, Zong Liang Yang, Qing Cun Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

270 Scopus citations


Sixteen land-surface schemes participating in the project for the Intercomparison of Land-surface Schemes (PILPS) Phase 2(c) were run using 10 years (1979-1988) of forcing data for the Red-Arkansas River basins in the Southern Great Plains region of the United States. Forcing data (precipitation, incoming radiation and surface meteorology) and land-surface characteristics (soil and vegetation parameters) were provided to each of the participating schemes. Two groups of runs are presented. (1) Calibration-validation runs, using data from six small catchments distributed across the modeling domain. These runs were designed to test the ability of the schemes to transfer information about model parameters to other catchments and to the computational grid boxes. (2) Base-runs, using data for 1979-1988, designed to evaluate the ability of the schemes to reproduce measured energy and water fluxes over multiple seasonal cycles across a climatically diverse, continental-scale basin. All schemes completed the base-runs but five schemes chose not to calibrate. Observational data (from 1980-1986) including daily river flows and monthly basin total evaporation estimated through an atmospheric budget analysis, were used to evaluate model performance. In general, the results are consistent with earlier PILPS experiments in terms of differences among models in predicted water and energy fluxes. The mean annual net radiation varied between 80 and 105 W m-2 (excluding one model). The mean annual Bowen ratio varied from 0.52 to 1.73 (also excluding one model) as compared to the data-estimated value of 0.92. The run-off ratios varied from a low of 0.02 to a high of 0.41, as compared to an observed value of 0.15. In general, those schemes that did not calibrate performed worse, not only on the validation catchments, but also at the scale of the entire modeling domain. This suggests that further PILPS experiments on the value of calibration need to be carried out.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-135
Number of pages21
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Dec 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Global and Planetary Change


  • Calibration of land-surface schemes
  • Continental river basin modeling
  • Energy/water balance
  • Land-surface parameterization
  • Red-Arkansas River basin


Dive into the research topics of 'The project for intercomparison of land-surface parameterization schemes (PILPS) phase 2(c) Red-Arkansas River basin experiment: 1. Experiment description and summary intercomparisons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this