Journal cover Journal topic
Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2017-153
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Methods for assessment of models
12 Jul 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).
On the Predictability of Land Surface Fluxes from Meteorological Variables
Ned Haughton, Gab Abramowitz, and Andy J. Pitman Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW Australia
Abstract. Previous research has shown that Land Surface Models (LSMs) are performing poorly when compared with rela- tively simple empirical models over a wide range of metrics and environments. Atmospheric driving data appears to provide information about land surface fluxes that LSMs are not fully utilising. Here, we further quantify the information available in the meteorological forcing data that is used by LSMs for predicting land surface fluxes, by interrogating Fluxnet data, and extending the benchmarking methodology used in previous experiments. We show that substantial performance improvement is possible for empirical models using meteorological data alone, thus setting lower bounds on a priori expectations on LSM performance. The process also identifies key meteorological variables that provide predictive power. We provide an ensemble of empirical benchmarks that are simple to reproduce, and provide a range of behaviours and predictive performance, acting as a baseline benchmark set for future studies. We re-analyse previously published LSM simulations, and show that there is more diversity between LSMs than previously indicated, although it remains unclear why LSMs are broadly performing so much worse than simple empirical models.

Citation: Haughton, N., Abramowitz, G., and Pitman, A. J.: On the Predictability of Land Surface Fluxes from Meteorological Variables, Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2017-153, in review, 2017.
Ned Haughton et al.
Ned Haughton et al.
Ned Haughton et al.

Viewed

Total article views: 347 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)

HTML PDF XML Total Supplement BibTeX EndNote
278 64 5 347 18 7 6

Views and downloads (calculated since 12 Jul 2017)

Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 12 Jul 2017)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 347 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)

Thereof 330 with geography defined and 17 with unknown origin.

Country # Views %
  • 1

Saved

Discussed

Latest update: 23 Sep 2017
Publications Copernicus
Download
Short summary
Previous studies indicate that fluxes of heat, water, and carbon between the land surface and atmosphere are substantially more predictable than the performance of the current crop of land surface models would indicate. This study uses simple empirical models to estimate the amount of useful information in meteorological forcings that is available for predicting land surface fluxes. These models can be used as benchmarks for land surface models, and may help identify areas ripe for improvement.
Previous studies indicate that fluxes of heat, water, and carbon between the land surface and...
Share