HIRLAM experiments on surface energy balance across Vatnajökull, Iceland
The aim of this study is to investigate the skill of the High Resolution Limited Area Model (HIRLAM) to reproduce the near-surface atmospheric conditions across the Vatnajökull Ice Cap in Iceland. This model-observation comparison study is based on a mesoscale glaciometeorological observation campaign, which has been performed during summer 1996 and provided a wealth of meteorological and glaciological data. Fine-scale hydrostatic HIRLAM experiments are based on downscaling ERA-40 analyses and the application of upper-air and surface data assimilation. The simulation results are compared to a subset of observations following a height transect across Breidamerkurjökull, a southern outlet glacier of Vatnajökull. After introduction of improvements, suggested by comparison of a reference run with observations, HIRLAM successfully simulates the surface energy balance and the driving meteorological parameters. For a correct simulation, a proper description of the constant and temporary varying physical properties of the underlying surface turned out to be crucial. The results are valuable for further improvement of operational mesoscale NWP in mountainous and high latitude environments.
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