Aerial view of Accomplishment Creek and the Sagavanirktok River in the Brooks Range of Alaska.  Photo by D.L. Kane

Collaborative Research: A Land Surface Model Hind-Cast for the Terrestrial Arctic Drainage System

Mark C. Serreze (, University of Colorado Boulder
Dennis Lettenmaier (, University of Washington
Steve Ackerman
Martyn P. Clark (, University of Colorado Boulder

This study will combine data synthesis and land surface modeling to assemble the best possible time series (20+ years) for the Arctic terrestrial drainage of land surface state variables (snow water equivalent, soil moisture, soil temperature) and moisture and energy fluxes (sensible, latent, and ground heat; radiation). Development of forcing fields will draw in part from an ongoing NSF effort known as Arctic-RIMS, geared at historical analysis and monitoring of the Arctic terrestrial hydrologic budget. The present effort both complements Arctic-RIMS and lays groundwork for a next-generation monitoring and prediction capability. The generated time series will be used to address spatial-temporal variability in sensible heat flux and evapo-transpiration, land surface feedbacks on precipitation, and development of the summer Arctic frontal zone.

This study will attempt to produce the best possible quality model forcing over the pan-Arctic domain by blending output from the new ERA-40 atmospheric reanalysis project with gridded in-situ observations and satellite data streams. Major challenges include maintaining physical consistency between time series of variables at different native spatial and temporal resolutions and providing realistic diurnal cycles. A particularly novel aspect of the proposed work will be use of a multi-model ensemble approach. Five different Land Surface Models will be used, all of which have been extensively tested for Arctic applications under the Project for Intercomparison of Land-Surface Parameterization Schemes (PILPS) Experiment 2e. The multi-model LSM ensemble average for each output variable should be superior to the values provided by a single run with any one LSM.

The data will also be useful for model validation efforts, such as the Arctic Regional Climate Model Inter-comparison Project, and in providing a source of high latitude evaluation data for the Atmospheric Model Inter-comparison Project. The project will contribute to educational goals through support of a graduate student and post-docs. Results from this study and related projects will be used as part of seminar course on the Arctic climate system to be taught at University of Colorado.

Arctic CHAMP
Science Management Office

Contact Information
Role of the Arctic-CHAMP Science Management Office
Photo: Aerial view of Accomplishment Creek and the
     Sagavanirktok River in the Brooks Range of Alaska.  Photo by D.L. Kane