Impacts of Satellite-Based Snow Albedo Assimilation on Offline and Coupled Land Surface Model Simulations

Abstract : Seasonal snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is the largest component of the terrestrial cryosphere and plays a major role in the climate system through strong positive feedbacks related to albedo. The snow-albedo feedback is invoked as an important cause for the polar amplification of ongoing and projected climate change, and its parameterization across models is an important source of uncertainty in climate simulations. Here, instead of developing a physical snow albedo scheme, we use a direct insertion approach to assimilate satellite based surface albedo during the snow season (hereafter as snow albedo assimilation) into the land surface model ORCHIDEE (ORganizing Carbon and Hydrology In Dynamic EcosystEms) and assess the influences of such assimilation on offline and coupled simulations. Our results have shown that snow albedo assimilation in both ORCHIDEE and ORCHIDEE-LMDZ (a general circulation model of Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique) improve the simulation accuracy of mean seasonal (October throughout May) snow water equivalent over the region north of 40 degrees. The sensitivity of snow water equivalent to snow albedo assimilation is more pronounced in the coupled simulation than the offline simulation since the feedback of albedo on air temperature is allowed in ORCHIDEE-LMDZ. We have also shown that simulations of air temperature at 2 meters in ORCHIDEE-LMDZ due to snow albedo assimilation are significantly improved during the spring in particular over the eastern Siberia region. This is a result of the fact that high amounts of shortwave radiation during the spring can maximize its snow albedo feedback, which is also supported by the finding that the spatial sensitivity of temperature change to albedo change is much larger during the spring than during the autumn and winter. In addition, the radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere induced by snow albedo assimilation during the spring is estimated to be-2.50 W m-2 , the magnitude of which is almost comparable to that due to CO 2
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Tao Wang, Shushi Peng, Gerhard Krinner, James Ryder, Yue Li, et al.. Impacts of Satellite-Based Snow Albedo Assimilation on Offline and Coupled Land Surface Model Simulations. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2015, ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0137275.t001⟩. ⟨insu-01235004⟩

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