UniFHy v0.1.1: a community modelling framework for the terrestrial water cycle in Python

Hallouin, Thibault; Ellis, Richard J.; Clark, Douglas B.; Dadson, Simon J.; Hughes, Andrew G.; Lawrence, Bryan N.; Lister, Grenville M.S.; Polcher, Jan. 2022 UniFHy v0.1.1: a community modelling framework for the terrestrial water cycle in Python. Geoscientific Model Development, 15 (24). 9177-9196.

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The land surface, hydrological, and groundwater modelling communities all have expertise in simulating the hydrological processes at play in the terrestrial component of the Earth system. However, these communities, and the wider Earth system modelling community, have largely remained distinct with limited collaboration between disciplines, hindering progress in the representation of hydrological processes in the land component of Earth system models (ESMs). In order to address key societal questions regarding the future availability of water resources and the intensity of extreme events such as floods and droughts in a changing climate, these communities must come together and build on the strengths of one another to produce next-generation land system models that are able to adequately simulate the terrestrial water cycle under change. The development of a common modelling infrastructure can contribute to stimulating cross-fertilisation by structuring and standardising the interactions. This paper presents such an infrastructure, a land system framework, which targets an intermediate level of complexity and constrains interfaces between components (and communities) and, in doing so, aims to facilitate an easier pipeline between the development of (sub-)community models and their integration, both for standalone use and for use in ESMs. This paper first outlines the conceptual design and technical capabilities of the framework; thereafter, its usage and useful characteristics are demonstrated through case studies. The main innovations presented here are (1) the interfacing constraints themselves; (2) the implementation in Python (the Unified Framework for Hydrology, unifhy); and (3) the demonstration of standalone use cases using the framework. The existing framework does not yet meet all our goals, in particular, of directly supporting integration into larger ESMs, so we conclude with the remaining limitations of the current framework and necessary future developments.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Hydro-climate Risks (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 1991-9603
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Date made live: 10 Jan 2023 12:36 +0 (UTC)

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