Importance of initial state and atmospheric conditions for urban land surface models' performance
Best, M. and Grimmond, C. S. B. (2014) Importance of initial state and atmospheric conditions for urban land surface models' performance. Urban Climate, 10 (2). pp. 387-406. ISSN 2212-0955
To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.uclim.2013.10.006
Urban land surface models (LSM) are commonly evaluated for short periods (a few weeks to months) because of limited observational data. This makes it difficult to distinguish the impact of initial conditions on model performance or to consider the response of a model to a range of possible atmospheric conditions. Drawing on results from the first urban LSM comparison, these two issues are considered. Assessment shows that the initial soil moisture has a substantial impact on the performance. Models initialised with soils that are too dry are not able to adjust their surface sensible and latent heat fluxes to realistic values until there is sufficient rainfall. Models initialised with too wet soils are not able to restrict their evaporation appropriately for periods in excess of a year. This has implications for short term evaluation studies and implies the need for soil moisture measurements to improve data assimilation and model initialisation. In contrast, initial conditions influencing the thermal storage have a much shorter adjustment timescale compared to soil moisture. Most models partition too much of the radiative energy at the surface into the sensible heat flux at the probable expense of the net storage heat flux.