A regional coupled approach to water cycle prediction during winter 2013/14 in the United Kingdom

Lewis, Huw W.; Dadson, Simon J.. 2021 A regional coupled approach to water cycle prediction during winter 2013/14 in the United Kingdom. Hydrological Processes, 35 (12), e14438. 24, pp.

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A regional coupled approach to water cycle prediction is demonstrated for the 4-month period from November 2013 to February 2014. This provides the first multi-component analysis of precipitation, soil moisture, river flow and coastal ocean simulations produced by an atmosphere-land-ocean coupled system focussed on the United Kingdom (UK), running with horizontal grid spacing of around 1.5 km across all components. The Unified Model atmosphere component, in which convection is explicitly simulated, reproduces the observed UK rainfall accumulation (r2 of 0.95 for water day accumulation), but there is a notable bias in its spatial distribution—too dry over western upland areas and too wet further east. The JULES land surface model soil moisture state is shown to be in broad agreement with a limited number of cosmic-ray neutron probe observations. A comparison of observed and simulated river flow shows the coupled system is useful for predicting broad scale features, such as distinguishing high and low flow regions and times during the period of interest but are less accurate than optimized hydrological models. The impact of simulated river discharge on NEMO model simulations of coastal ocean state is explored in the coupled modelling framework, with comparisons provided relative to experiments using climatological river input and no river input around the UK coasts. Results show that the freshwater flux around the UK contributes of order 0.2 psu to the mean surface salinity, and comparisons to profile observations give evidence of an improved vertical structure when applying simulated flows. This study represents the first assessment of the coupled system performance from a hydrological perspective, with priorities for future model developments and challenges for evaluation of such systems discussed.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Hydro-climate Risks (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0885-6087
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: coastal regions of freshwater influence, coupled modelling, water cycle prediction
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Date made live: 29 Dec 2021 15:33 +0 (UTC)

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