Simulation of high latitude hydrological processes in the Torne-Kalix basin: PILPS phase 2(e) - 2: Comparison of model results with observations

Bart Nijssen, Laura C. Bowling, Dennis P. Lettenmaier, Douglas B. Clark, Mustapha El Maayar, Richard Essery, Sven Goers, Yeugeniy M. Gosev, Florence Habets, Bart Van den Hurk, Jiming Jin, Daniel Kahan, Dag Lohmann, Xieyao Ma, Sarith Mahanama, David Mocko, Olga Nasonova, Guo-Yue Niu, Patrick Samuelsson, Andrey B. SchmakinKumiko Takata, Diana Verseghy, Pedro Viterbo, Youlong Xia, Yongkang Xue, Zong-Liang Yang

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    105 Citations (Scopus)


    Model results from 21 land-surface schemes (LSSs) designed for use in numerical weather prediction and climate models are compared with each other and with observations in the context of the Project for Intercomparison of Land-surface Parameterization Schemes (PILPS) Phase 2(e) model intercomparison experiment. This experiment focuses on simulations of land-surface water and energy fluxes in the 58,000-km2 Torne and Kalix river systems in northern Scandinavia, during the period 1989-1998. All models participating in PILPS Phase 2(e) capture the broad dynamics of snowmelt and runoff, but large differences in snow accumulation and ablation, turbulent heat fluxes, and streamflow exist. The greatest among-model differences in energy and moisture fluxes in these high-latitude environments occur during the spring snowmelt period, reflecting different model parameterizations of snow processes. Differences in net radiation are governed by differences in the simulated radiative surface temperature during the winter months and by differences in surface albedo during the spring/early summer. Differences in net radiation are smallest during the late summer when snow is absent. Although simulated snow sublimation is small for most models, a few models show annual snow sublimation of about 100 mm. These differences in snow sublimation appear to be largely dependent on differences in snow surface roughness parameterizations. The models with high sublimation generally lose their snowpacks too early compared to observations and underpredict the annual runoff. Differences in runoff parameterizations are reflected in differences in daily runoff statistics. Although most models show a greater variability in daily streamflow than the observations, the models with the greatest variability (as much as double the observed variability), produce most of their runoff through fast response, surface runoff mechanisms. As a group, those models that took advantage of an opportunity to calibrate to selected small catchments and to transfer calibration results to the basin at large had a smaller bias and root mean squared error (RMSE) in daily streamflow simulations compared with the models that did not calibrate.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)31-53
    Number of pages23
    JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


    • Hydrological processes
    • PILPS Phase 2(e)
    • Torne-Kalix basin


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