Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-614
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
27 Oct 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
On the Appropriate Definition of Soil Profile Configuration and Initial Conditions for Land Surface-Hydrology Models in Cold Regions
Gonzalo Sapriza-Azuri1, Pablo Gamazo1, Saman Razavi2,3,4, and Howard S. Wheater2,3,4 1Departamento del Agua, Centro Universitario Regional Litoral Norte, Universidad de la República, Salto, Uruguay
2Global Institute for Water Security, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
3School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
4Department of Civil and Geological Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
Abstract. Arctic and sub-arctic regions are amongst the most susceptible regions on Earth to global warming and climate change. Understanding and predicting the impact of climate change in these regions require a proper process representation of the interactions between climate, the carbon cycle, and hydrology in Earth system models. This study focuses on Land Surface Models (LSMs) that represent the lower boundary condition of General Circulation Models (GCMs) and Regional Climate Models (RCMs), which simulate climate change evolution at the global and regional scales, respectively. LSMs typically utilize a standard soil configuration with a depth of no more than 4 meters, whereas for cold, permafrost regions, field experiments show that attention to deep soil profiles is needed to understand and close the water and energy balances, which are tightly coupled through the phase change. To address this, we design and run a series of model experiments with a one-dimensional LSM, called CLASS (Canadian Land Surface Scheme), as embedded in the MESH (Modélisation Environmentale Communautaire – Surface and Hydrology) modelling system, to (1) characterize the effect of soil profile depth under different climate conditions and in the presence of parameter uncertainty, and (2) develop a methodology for temperature profile initialization in permafrost regions, where the system has an extended memory, by the use of paleo-records and bootstrapping. Our study area is in Norman Wells, Northwest Territories of Canada, where measurements of soil temperature profiles and historical reconstructed climate data are available. Our results demonstrate that the adequate depth of soil profile in an LSM varies for warmer and colder conditions and is sensitive to model parameters and the uncertainty around them. In general, however, we show that a minimum of 20 meters of soil profile is essential to adequately represent the temperature dynamics. Our results also indicate the significance of model initialization in permafrost regions and our proposed spin-up method requires running the LSM over more than 300 years of reconstructed climate time series.

Citation: Sapriza-Azuri, G., Gamazo, P., Razavi, S., and Wheater, H. S.: On the Appropriate Definition of Soil Profile Configuration and Initial Conditions for Land Surface-Hydrology Models in Cold Regions, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-614, in review, 2017.
Gonzalo Sapriza-Azuri et al.
Gonzalo Sapriza-Azuri et al.
Gonzalo Sapriza-Azuri et al.

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Short summary
Arctic and sub-arctic regions are amongst the most susceptible regions on Earth to climate change. There, models require a proper representation of the interactions between climate and hydrology. Typically these model represent the soil with shallow depths, whereas for cold regions, deep soil is needed. To address this, we run model experiments to characterize the effect of soil depth, and temperature soil initialization. Our results demonstrate that 20 meters of soil profile is essential.
Arctic and sub-arctic regions are amongst the most susceptible regions on Earth to climate...
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