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Title: CAUSES: On the Role of Surface Energy Budget Errors to the Warm Surface Air Temperature Error Over the Central United States

Many weather forecast and climate models simulate warm surface air temperature (T 2m) biases over midlatitude continents during the summertime, especially over the Great Plains. We present here one of a series of papers from a multimodel intercomparison project (CAUSES: Cloud Above the United States and Errors at the Surface), which aims to evaluate the role of cloud, radiation, and precipitation biases in contributing to the T 2m bias using a short-term hindcast approach during the spring and summer of 2011. Observations are mainly from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Southern Great Plains sites. The present study examines the contributions of surface energy budget errors. All participating models simulate too much net shortwave and longwave fluxes at the surface but with no consistent mean bias sign in turbulent fluxes over the Central United States and Southern Great Plains. Nevertheless, biases in the net shortwave and downward longwave fluxes as well as surface evaporative fraction (EF) are contributors to T 2m bias. Radiation biases are largely affected by cloud simulations, while EF bias is largely affected by soil moisture modulated by seasonal accumulated precipitation and evaporation. An approximate equation based upon the surface energy budget is derived to further quantify the magnitudesmore » of radiation and EF contributions to T 2m bias. Our analysis ascribes that a large EF underestimate is the dominant source of error in all models with a large positive temperature bias, whereas an EF overestimate compensates for an excess of absorbed shortwave radiation in nearly all the models with the smallest temperature bias.« less
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  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
  2. Met Office, Exeter (United Kingdom)
  3. European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading (United Kingdom)
  4. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  5. Lab. de MΓ©tΓ©orologie Dynamique, Paris (France)
  6. Environment Canada, Victoria, BC (Canada). Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis
  7. Meteo-France/CNRS, Toulouse (France)
  8. Academia Sinica, Taipei (Taiwan)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-126060; LLNL-JRNL-731760
Journal ID: ISSN 2169-897X
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-05CH11231; AC05-76RL01830; SC0005259; SC0014122; AC52-07NA27344; DARI-0292; NSC100-2119-M-001-029-MY5; MOST105-2119-M-001-018
Published Article
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 123; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-897X
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1426348; OSTI ID: 1430530; OSTI ID: 1438686