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Evaluation of the land-surface interaction in the ECMWF and NCEP/NCAR reanalyses over grassland (FIFE) and boreal forest (BOREAS).

The National Center for Environmental Prediction and National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) and European Centre for Medium‐Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) reanalysis models are compared with First ISLSCP (International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project) Field Experiment (FIFE) grassland data from Kansas in 1987 and Boreal Ecosystem‐Atmosphere Study (BOREAS) data from an old black spruce site in 1996 near Thompson, Manitoba. Some aspects of the comparison are similar for the two ecosystems. Over grassland and after snowmelt in the boreal forest, both models represent the seasonal cycle of near‐surface temperature well. The two models have quite different soil hydrology components. The ECMWF model includes soil water nudging based on low level humidity errors. While this works quite well for the FIFE grassland, it appears to give too high evaporation over the boreal forest. The NCEP/NCAR model constrains long‐term drifts by nudging deep soil water toward climatology. Over the FIFE site, this seems to give too low evaporation in midsummer, while at the BOREAS site, evaporation in this model is high. Both models have some difficulty representing the surface diurnal cycle of humidity. In the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis this leads to errors primarily in June, when the surface boundary layer stays saturated and too much precipitation occurs. In the ECMWF reanalysis there is a morning peak of mixing ratio, which an earlier work showed resulted from too shallow a boundary layer in the morning. Over the northern boreal forest there are important physical processes, which are not represented in either reanalysis model. In particular very high model albedos in spring, when there is snow under the forest canopy, lead to a very low daytime net radiation. This in turn leads to a large underestimate of the daytime surface fluxes, particularly the sensible heat flux, and to daytime model surface temperatures that are as much as 15 K low. In addition, the models do not account for the reduction in evaporation associated with frozen soil, and they generally have too large evapotranspiration in June and July, probably because they do not model the tight stomatal control of the coniferous forest.

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Betts A. K., P. Viterbo, A.C.M. Beljaars, H-L. Pan, S-Y. Hong, M. L.Goulden and S.C. Wofsy, 1998: Evaluation of the land-surface interaction in the ECMWF and NCEP/NCAR reanalyses over grassland (FIFE) and boreal forest (BOREAS). J. Geophys. Res., 103, 23079-23085.