Impact of Initial Soil Wetness on Seasonal Atmospheric Prediction

Fennessy, M.J.; Shukla, J.
November 1999
Journal of Climate;11/1/99, Vol. 12 Issue 11, p3167
Academic Journal
This study investigates the importance of initial soil wetness in seasonal predictions with dynamical models. Two experiments are performed, each consisting of two ensembles of global climate model integrations initialized from early June observed atmospheric states. In each experiment the only difference between the two ensembles is that they are initialized with a different soil wetness. In the first experiment both ensembles are initialized from 1988 observed atmospheric states and use observed 1988 SST; one ensemble is initialized with seasonally varying climatological soil wetness, and the other is initialized with proxy 1988 soil wetness derived from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts analysis--forecast system. In the second experiment the two ensembles are initialized from observed atmospheric states and use observed SST for five different years, and each ensemble is initialized with a different climatological soil wetness. After initialization, a coupled atmosphere--biosphere model determines the evolution of the soil wetness fields in all the integrations. The experiments are analyzed to determine the impact of the initial soil wetness differences. In contrast to several previous studies in which initial soil wetness was prescribed arbitrarily, a somewhat more realistic soil wetness impact is analyzed by comparing integrations initialized with climatological soil wetness to integrations initialized with soil wetness derived from the output of an operational analysis--forecast model. The initial soil wetness impact is found to be largely local and is largest on near-surface fields, in agreement with previous results. Significant impacts were found in several tropical and extratropical regions in both experiments. Almost all the regions that had significant increases (decreases) in initial soil wetness had significant increases (decreases) in seasonal mean evaporation and significant decreases (increases) in seasonal...


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