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Evaluation of regional-scale soil moisture-surface flux dynamics in Earth system models based on satellite observations of land surface temperature

Gallego-Elvira, Belen; Taylor, Christopher M.; Harris, Phil P.; Ghent, Darren. 2019 Evaluation of regional-scale soil moisture-surface flux dynamics in Earth system models based on satellite observations of land surface temperature. Geophysical Research Letters, 46 (10). 5480-5488. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL082962

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Abstract/Summary

There is a lack of high‐quality global observations to evaluate soil drying impacts on surface fluxes in Earth system models (ESMs). Here we use a novel diagnostic based on the observed warming of the land relative to the atmosphere during dry spells (relative warming rate, RWR) to assess ESMs. The ESMs show that RWR is well correlated with changes in the partition of surface energy between sensible and latent heat across dry spells. Therefore, comparisons between observed and simulated RWR reveal where models are unable to capture a realistic soil moisture‐heat flux relationship. The results show that in general, models simulate dry spell ET dynamics well in arid zones while decreases in evaporative fraction appear excessive in some models in continental climate zones. Our approach can help guide land model development in aspects that are key in simulating extreme events like heat waves.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL082962
CEH Sections/Science Areas: Hydro-climate Risks (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0094-8276
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: climate model evaluation, dry spells, evapotranspiration dynamics, satellite observations, CMIP5, AMIP
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Meteorology and Climatology
Date made live: 14 May 2019 13:06 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/523179

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