A factorial assessment of the sensitivity of the bats land-surface parameterization scheme

A HENDERSON-SELLERS*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Land-surface schemes developed for incorporation into global climate models include parameterizations that are not yet fully validated and depend upon the specification of a large (20-50) number of ecological and soil parameters, the values of which are not yet well known. There are two methods of investigating the sensitivity of a land-surface scheme to prescribed values: simple one-at-a-time changes of factorial experiments. Factorial experiments offer information about interactions between parameters and are thus a more powerful tool. Here the results of a suite of factorial experiments are reported. These are designed (i) to illustrate the usefulness of this methodology and (ii) to identify factors important to the performance of complex land-surface schemes. The Biosphere-Atmosphere Transfer Scheme (BATS) is used and its sensitivity is considered (a) to prescribed ecological and soil parameters and (b) to atmospheric forcing used in the off-line tests undertaken. Results indicate that the most important atmospheric forcings are mean monthly temperature and the interaction between mean monthly temperature and total monthly precipitation, although fractional cloudiness and other parameters are also important. The most important ecological parameters are vegetation roughness length, soil porosity, and a factor describing the sensitivity of the stomatal resistance of vegetation to the amount of photosynthetically active solar radiation and, to a lesser extent, soil and vegetation albedos. Two-factor interactions including vegetation roughness length are more important than many of the 23 specified single factors. The results of factorial sensitivity experiments such as these could form the basis for intercomparison of land-surface parameterization schemes and for field experiments and satellite-based observation programs aimed at improving evaluation of important parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-247
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1993

Keywords

  • MODELING TROPICAL DEFORESTATION
  • SIMPLE BIOSPHERE MODEL
  • CLIMATE
  • VEGETATION
  • COVER
  • GCM
  • PARAMETRIZATIONS
  • FOREST

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