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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-478
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-478
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 21 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 21 Oct 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

High-resolution fully-coupled atmospheric–hydrological modeling: a cross-compartment regional water and energy cycle evaluation

Benjamin Fersch1, Alfonso Senatore2, Bianca Adler3, Joël Arnault1, Matthias Mauder1, Katrin Schneider1, Ingo Völksch1, and Harald Kunstmann1 Benjamin Fersch et al.
  • 1Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-IFU), Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • 2University of Calabria, Department of Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Rende (CS), Italy
  • 3Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-TRO), Karlsruhe, Germany

Abstract. The land surface and the atmospheric boundary layer are closely intertwined with respect to the exchange of water, trace gases and energy. Nonlinear feedback and scale dependent mechanisms are obvious by observations and theories. Modeling instead is often narrowed to single compartments of the terrestrial system or largely bound to traditional disciplines. Coupled terrestrial hydrometeorological modeling systems attempt to overcome these limitations to achieve a better integration of the processes relevant for regional climate studies and local area weather prediction. This study examines the ability of the hydrologically enhanced version of the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF-Hydro) to reproduce the regional water cycle by means of a two-way coupled approach and assesses the impact of hydrological coupling with respect to a traditional regional atmospheric model setting. It includes the observation-based calibration of the hydrological model component (offline WRF-Hydro) and a comparison of the classic WRF and the fully coupled WRF-Hydro models both with identical calibrated parameter settings for the land surface model (Noah-MP). The simulations are evaluated based on extensive observations at the preAlpine Terrestrial Environmental Observatory (TERENO-preAlpine) for the Ammer (600 km2) and Rott (55 km2) river catchments in southern Germany, covering a five month period (Jun–Oct 2016). The sensitivity of 7 land surface parameters is tested using the Latin-Hypercube One-factor-At-a-Time (LH-OAT) method and 6 sensitive parameters are subsequently optimized for 6 different subcatchments, using the Model-Independent Parameter Estimation and Uncertainty Analysis software (PEST). The calibration of the offline WRF-Hydro gives Nash-Sutcliffe efficiencies between 0.56 and 0.64 and volumetric efficiencies between 0.46 and 0.81 for the six subcatchments. The comparison of classic WRF and fully coupled WRF-Hydro, both using the calibrated parameters from the offline model, shows nominal alterations for radiation and precipitation but considerable changes for moisture- and heat fluxes. By comparison with TERENO-preAlpine observations, the fully coupled model slightly outperforms the classic WRF with respect to evapotranspiration, sensible and ground heat flux, near surface mixing ratio, temperature, and boundary layer profiles of air temperature. The subcatchment-based water budgets show uniformly directed variations for evapotranspiration, infiltration excess and percolation whereas soil moisture and precipitation change randomly.

Benjamin Fersch et al.
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Benjamin Fersch et al.
Data sets

TERENO-preAlpine observatory and ScaleX 2016 campaign data set associated with HESS paper "High-resolution fully-coupled atmospheric–hydrological modeling: a cross-compartment regional water and energy cycle evaluation B. Fersch, B. Adler, M. Mauder, K. Schneider, A. Senatore, I. Völksch, R. Kiese, and H. Kunstmann https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3406970

Model code and software

WRF-Hydro 3.0 / WRF 3.7.1 regional hydrometeorological model, extended by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Campus Alpin B. Fersch https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3405781

Model configuration for the coupled WRF/WRF-Hydro model used for the HESS manuscript "High-resolution fully-coupled atmospheric–hydrological modeling: a cross-compartment regional water and energy cycle evaluation" B. Fersch https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3407166

Benjamin Fersch et al.
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