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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-223
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-223
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: development and technical paper 24 Sep 2019

Submitted as: development and technical paper | 24 Sep 2019

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

Evaluation of three new surface irrigation parameterizations in the WRF-ARW v3.8.1 model: the Po Valley (Italy) case study

Arianna Valmassoi1,2, Jimy Dudhia2, Silvana Di Sabatino3, and Francesco Pilla1 Arianna Valmassoi et al.
  • 1School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin, UCD Richview, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 3Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Abstract. Irrigation is one of the land managements that can affect the local climate. Recent literature shows that it affects mostly the near-surface variables and it is associated with an irrigation cooling effect. However, there is no common parameterization that also accounts for a realistic water amount, and these factors could be ascribed as causes of different impacts found in previous studies. This work aims to develop three new surface irrigation parameterizations within the WRF-ARW model (V3.8.1) that consider different evaporative processes. The parameterizations are tested on one of the regions where global studies disagree on the signal of irrigation: the Mediterranean area, and in particular the Po Valley. Three sets of experiments are performed using the same irrigation water amount of 5.7 mm/d, derived from Eurostat data. Two complementary validations are performed for July 2015: monthly mean, minimum and maximum temperature with ground stations and potential evapotranspiration with the MODIS product. All tests show that both mean and maximum temperature, as well as potential evapotranspiration, simulated fields approximate better the measures when using the irrigation parameterizations. This study addresses the sensitivity of the results to the parameterizations' human-decision assumptions: start time, length and frequency. The main impact of irrigation on surface variables such as soil moisture is due to the parameterization choice itself, rather than the timing. Moreover, on average, the atmosphere and soil variables are not very sensitive to the parameterizations assumptions for realistic timing and length.

Arianna Valmassoi et al.
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Arianna Valmassoi et al.
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Short summary
Irrigation affects the atmosphere and models are required to understand its full impact. However, there is no agreed procedure to describe irrigation within regional models. The present study introduces three new methods to integrate this process into the models and validates it for the Po Valley in northern Italy. All the tests done show that the results are improved with the new irrigation techniques when compared against some measures (e.g. temperature, potential evapotranspiration).
Irrigation affects the atmosphere and models are required to understand its full impact....
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