Jump to Content

The land-surface-atmosphere interaction: a review based on observational and global modeling perspectives.

This review discusses the land‐surface‐atmosphere interaction using observations from two North American field experiments (First International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project Field Experiment (FIFE) and Boreal Ecosystem Atmosphere Study (BOREAS)) and the application of research data to the improvement of land surface and boundary layer parameterizations in the European Centre for Medium‐Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) global forecast model. Using field data, we discuss some of the diurnal and seasonal feedback loops controlling the net surface radiation and its partition into the surface sensible and latent heat fluxes and the ground heat flux. We consider the impact on the boundary layer evolution and show the changes in the diurnal cycle with soil moisture in midsummer. We contrast the surface energy budget over the tropical oceans with that over both dry and wet land surfaces in summer. Results from a new ECMWF model with four predicted soil layers illustrate the interaction between the soil moisture reservoir, evaporation and precipitation on different timescales and space scales. An analysis of an ensemble of 30‐day integrations for July 1993 (the month of the Mississippi flood) showed a large sensitivity of the monthly precipitation pattern (and amount) to different initial soil moisture conditions. Short‐range forecasts with old and new land surface and boundary layer schemes showed that the new scheme produced much better precipitation forecasts for the central United States because of a more realistic thermodynamic structure, which in turn resulted from improved evaporation in an area that is about 1‐day upstream. The results suggest that some predictability exists in the extended range as a result of the memory of the soil moisture reservoir. We also discuss briefly the problem of soil moisture initialization in a global forecast model and summarize recent experience with nudging of soil moisture at ECMWF and improvements in the surface energy budget coming from the better prediction of clouds.

Related Topics


Download Paper

Full Citation

Betts, A. K., J.H. Ball, A.C.M. Beljaars, M.J. Miller and P. Viterbo, 1996: The land-surface-atmosphere interaction: a review based on observational and global modeling perspectives. J. Geophys. Res. 101, 7209-7225.