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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2018-134
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Development and technical paper 30 Aug 2018

Development and technical paper | 30 Aug 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).

Using observed river flow data to improve the hydrological functioning of the JULES land surface model (vn4.3) used for regional coupled modelling in Great Britain (UKC2)

Alberto Martínez-de la Torre1, Eleanor M. Blyth1, and Graham P. Weedon2 Alberto Martínez-de la Torre et al.
  • 1Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
  • 2Met Office, Joint Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Research, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK

Abstract. Land surface models (LSMs) represent terrestrial hydrology in weather and climate modelling operational systems and research studies. We aim to improve hydrological performance in the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES) LSM that is suitable for distributed hydrological modelling within the new land-atmosphere-ocean coupled prediction system UKC2 (UK regional Coupled environmental prediction system 2). Using river flow observations from gauge stations, we study the capability of JULES to simulate river flow over 13 catchments in Great Britain, each representing different climatic and topographic characteristics at 1km2 spatial resolution. A series of tests, carried out to identify where the model results are sensitive to the scheme and parameters chosen for runoff production, suggests that different catchments require different parameters and even different runoff schemes to produce the best results. From these results, we introduce a new topographical parametrization that produces the best daily river flow results (in terms of Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency and mean bias) for all 13 catchments. The new parametrization introduces a dependency on terrain slope, constraining surface runoff production to wet soil conditions over flatter regions (like the Thames catchment; Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency above 0.8), whereas over steeper regions the model produces surface runoff for every rainfall event regardless of the soil wetness state. This new parametrization improves the model capability in regional (Great Britain wide) assessments. The new choice of parameters is reinforced by examining the amplitude and phase of the modelled versus observed river flows, via cross-spectral analysis for time scales longer than daily.

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Short summary
Land surface interactions with the atmosphere are key for weather and climate modelling studies, both in research and in the operational systems that provide scientific tools for decision makers. Regional assessments will be influenced by the characteristics of the land. We improved the representation of Great Britain river flows by including a dependency on terrain slope. This development will be reflected not only in river flows, but in the whole water cycle represented by the model/system.
Land surface interactions with the atmosphere are key for weather and climate modelling studies,...
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