Evaluating the value of a network of cosmic-ray probes for improving land surface modelling
R. Baatz1,2, Harrie-Jan Hendricks Franssen1,2, Xujun Han1,2, Tim Hoar3, Heye R. Bogena1, and Harry Vereecken1,21Agrosphere (IBG-3), Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, 52425 Jülich, Germany 2HPSC-TerrSys, 52425 Jülich, Germany 3NCAR Data Assimilation Research Section, Boulder, CO, USA
Received: 22 Aug 2016 – Accepted for review: 23 Aug 2016 – Discussion started: 26 Aug 2016
Abstract. Land surface models can model matter and energy fluxes between the land surface and atmosphere, and provide a lower boundary condition to atmospheric circulation models. For these applications, accurate soil moisture quantification is highly desirable but not always possible given limited observations and limited subsurface data accuracy. Cosmic-ray probes (CRPs) offer an interesting alternative to indirectly measure soil moisture and provide an observation that can be assimilated into land surface models for improved soil moisture prediction. Synthetic studies have shown the potential to estimate subsurface parameters of land surface models with the assimilation of CRP observations. In this study, the potential of a network of CRPs for estimating subsurface parameters and improved soil moisture states is tested in a real-world case scenario using the local ensemble transform Kalman filter with the Community Land Model. The potential of the CRP network was tested by assimilating CRP-data for the years 2011 and 2012 (with or without soil hydraulic parameter estimation), followed by the verification year 2013. This was done using (i) the regional soil map as input information for the simulations, and (ii) an erroneous, biased soil map. For the regional soil map, soil moisture characterization was only improved in the assimilation period but not in the verification period. For the biased soil map, soil moisture characterization improved in both periods strongly from a ERMS of 0.11 cm3/cm3 to 0.03 cm3/cm3 (assimilation period) and from 0.12 cm3/cm3 to 0.05 cm3/cm3 (verification period) and the estimated soil hydraulic parameters were after assimilation closer to the ones of the regional soil map. Finally, the value of the CRP network was also evaluated with jackknifing data assimilation experiments. It was found that the CRP network is able to improve soil moisture estimates at locations between the assimilation sites from a ERMS of 0.12 cm3/cm3 to 0.06 cm3/cm3 (verification period), but again only if the initial soil map was biased.
Baatz, R., Hendricks Franssen, H.-J., Han, X., Hoar, T., Bogena, H. R., and Vereecken, H.: Evaluating the value of a network of cosmic-ray probes for improving land surface modelling, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2016-432, in review, 2016.