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Climate Dynamics

, Volume 22, Issue 6–7, pp 555–572 | Cite as

Sensitivity of a general circulation model to land surface parameters in African tropical deforestation experiments

  • K. Maynard
  • J.-F. Royer
Article

Abstract

During the last two decades, several land surface schemes for use in climate, regional and/or mesoscale, hydrological and ecological models have been designed. Incorrect parametrization of land-surface processes and prescription of the surface parameters in atmospheric modeling, can result in artificial changes of the horizontal gradient of the sensible heat flux. Thus, an error in horizontal temperature gradient within the lower atmosphere may be introduced. The reliability of the model depends on the quality of boundary layer scheme implemented and its sensitivity to the bare soil and vegetation parameters. In this study, a series of sensitivity experiments has been conducted over broad time scales, using a version of the ARPEGE Climate Model coupled to the ISBA land surface scheme in order to investigate model sensitivity to separate changes in land surface parameters over Africa. Effects of perturbing vegetation cover, distribution of soil depth, albedo of vegetation, roughness length, leaf area index and minimum stomatal resistance were explored by using a simple statistical analysis. Identifying which parameters are important in controlling turbulent energy fluxes, temperature and soil moisture is dependent on which variables are used to determine sensibility, which type of vegetation and climate regime is being simulated and the magnitude and sign of the parameter change. This study does not argue that a particular parameter is important in ISBA, rather it shows that no general ranking of parameters is possible. So, it is essential to specify all land surface parameters with greater precision when attempting to determine the climate response to modification of the land surface. The implication of ISBA being sensitive to parameters that cannot be validated suggests that there will always be considerable doubt over the predictive quality of land-surface schemes.

Keywords

Heat Flux Leaf Area Index Latent Heat Flux Roughness Length Surface Albedo 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the IMAGE Team at RIVM for providing the IMAGE 2.2 simulations on CD-Rom, particularly Michiel Schaeffer and Bas Eickhout. We wish to thank Michel Déqué, Robin Clark and Hervé Douville for helpful comments and suggestions, and Fabrice Chauvin and Sophie Tyteca for their support. The software package GrADS (http://grads.iges.org//grads/) was used to draw the figures. This study has been supported by a grant from the European Commission Fifth Framework Programme (PROMISE contract EVK2-CT-1999-00022) and by the French “Programme National d’Etude de la Dynamique du Climat” (PNEDC).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag  2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Météo-France CNRMToulouse Cedex 1France

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