The sensitivity of global climate model simulations to the representation of soil moisture heterogeneity

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The sensitivity of global climate model simulations to the representation of soil moisture heterogeneity

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Title: The sensitivity of global climate model simulations to the representation of soil moisture heterogeneity
Author: Gedney, Nicola
Cox, Peter M.
Citation: 4 (6), pp. 1265–1275
Publisher: American Meteorological Society
Journal: Journal of Hydrometeorology
Date Issued: 2003
DOI: 10.1175/1525-7541(2003)004<1265:TSOGCM>2.0.CO;2
Abstract: Improving the treatment of subgrid-scale soil moisture variations is recognized as a priority for the next generation of land surface schemes. Here, the impact of an improved representation of subgrid-scale soil moisture heterogeneity on global climate model (GCM) simulations of current and future climates is carried out using Version three of the Hadley Centre Atmospheric Climate Model (HadAM3) coupled to the Met Office Surface Exchange Scheme (MOSES). MOSES was adapted to make use of the rainfall runoff model TOPMODEL algorithms, which relate the local water table depth to the grid box mean water table depth, assuming that subgrid-scale topography is the primary cause of soil moisture heterogeneity. This approach was also applied to produce a novel model for wetland area, which can ultimately be used to interactively model methane emissions from wetlands. The modified scheme was validated offline by forcing with near-surface Global Soil Wetness Project (GSWP) data, and online within the HadAM3 global climate model. In both cases it was found to improve the present-day simulation of runoff and produce realistic distributions of global wetland area. (Precipitation was also improved in the online simulation.) The new scheme results in substantial differences in the modeled sensitivity of runoff to climate change, with implications for the modeling of hydrological impacts.
Type: Article
Description: Permission to place copies of these works on this server has been provided by the American Meteorological Society (AMS). The AMS does not guarantee that the copies provided here are accurate copies of the published work. © Copyright 2003 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form on servers, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy, available on the AMS Web site located at ( or from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or
ISSN: 1525-755X1525-7541

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