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Title: Large eddy simulations of surface roughness parameter sensitivity to canopy-structure characteristics

Surface roughness parameters are at the core of every model representation of the coupling and interactions between land-surface and atmosphere, and are used in every model of surface fluxes. However, most models assume these parameters to be a fixed property of plant functional type and do not vary them in response to spatial or temporal changes to canopy structure. In part, this is due to the difficulty of reducing the complexity of canopy structure and its spatiotemporal dynamic and heterogeneity to less than a handful of parameters describing its effects of atmosphere–surface interactions. In this study we use large-eddy simulations to explore, in silico, the effects of canopy structure characteristics on surface roughness parameters. We performed a virtual experiment to test the sensitivity of resolved surface roughness to four axes of canopy structure: (1) leaf area index, (2) the vertical profile of leaf density, (3) canopy height, and (4) canopy gap fraction. We found roughness parameters to be highly variable, but were able to find positive relationships between displacement height and maximum canopy height, aerodynamic canopy height and maximum canopy height and leaf area index, and eddy-penetration depth and gap fraction. We also found negative relationships between aerodynamic canopy heightmore » and gap fraction, and between eddy-penetration depth and maximum canopy height and leaf area index. Using a decade of wind and canopy structure observations in a site in Michigan, we tested the effectiveness of our model-resolved parameters in predicting the frictional velocity over heterogeneous and disturbed canopies. We compared it with three other semi-empirical models and with a decade of meteorological observations. We found that parameterizations with fixed representations of roughness performed relatively well. Nonetheless, some empirical approaches that incorporate seasonal and inter-annual changes to the canopy structure performed even better than models with temporally fixed parameters.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
FC02-06ER64158; SC0007041; SC0006708; 7096915
Published Article
Journal Name:
Biogeosciences Discussions (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Biogeosciences Discussions (Online); Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: 11; Journal ID: ISSN 1810-6285
European Geosciences Union
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