Journal cover Journal topic
Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/gmd-2016-209
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Model experiment description paper
27 Oct 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Investigating soil moisture-climate interactions with prescribed soil moisture experiments: an assessment with the Community Earth System Model (version 1.2)
Mathias Hauser, René Orth, and Sonia I. Seneviratne Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Abstract. Land surface hydrology is an important control of surface weather and climate. A valuable technique to investigate this link is the prescription of soil moisture in land surface models, which leads to a decoupling of the interaction between the atmosphere and land processes. Diverse approaches to prescribe soil moisture, as well as different prescribed soil moisture conditions can be envisaged. Here, we compare and assess three methodologies to prescribe soil moisture and investigate the impact of two estimates of the climatological seasonal cycle to prescribe soil moisture. This can help to guide the set up of future experiments prescribing soil moisture, as for instance planned within the "Land Surface, Snow and Soil Moisture Model Intercomparison Project" (LS3MIP). Our analysis shows that, though in appearance similar, the different approaches require substantially different long-term moisture inputs and lead to different temperature signals. The smallest influence on temperature and the water balance is found when prescribing the median seasonal cycle of deep soil liquid water, whereas the strongest signal is found when prescribing soil liquid and soil ice using the mean seasonal cycle. These results indicate that induced net water-balance perturbations in experiments investigating soil moisture-climate coupling are important contributors to the climate response, in addition to the intended impact of the decoupling.

Citation: Hauser, M., Orth, R., and Seneviratne, S. I.: Investigating soil moisture-climate interactions with prescribed soil moisture experiments: an assessment with the Community Earth System Model (version 1.2), Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss., doi:10.5194/gmd-2016-209, in review, 2016.
Mathias Hauser et al.
Interactive discussionStatus: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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RC1: 'Review', Bart van den Hurk, 01 Nov 2016 Printer-friendly Version 
AC1: 'Response to Bart van den Hurk', Mathias Hauser, 15 Feb 2017 Printer-friendly Version Supplement 
 
RC2: 'Review', Jeanne Colin, 04 Jan 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
AC2: 'Response to Jeanne Colin', Mathias Hauser, 15 Feb 2017 Printer-friendly Version Supplement 
Mathias Hauser et al.
Mathias Hauser et al.

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Short summary
Water in the soil can influence temperature and precipitation of the atmosphere. However, the atmosphere also alters the soil moisture content. Climate model simulations that fix soil moisture are a means to decouple these relationships. We find a strong dependence of the atmospheric response to the method used to fix the soil moisture as well as to the employed soil moisture data set.
Water in the soil can influence temperature and precipitation of the atmosphere. However, the...
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