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Title: Scalability of grid- and subbasin-based land surface modeling approaches for hydrologic simulations

This paper investigates the relative merits of grid- and subbasin-based land surface modeling approaches for hydrologic simulations, with a focus on their scalability (i.e., abilities to perform consistently across a range of spatial resolutions) in simulating runoff generation. Simulations produced by the grid- and subbasin-based configurations of the Community Land Model (CLM) are compared at four spatial resolutions (0.125o, 0.25o, 0.5o and 1o) over the topographically diverse region of the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Using the 0.125o resolution simulation as the “reference”, statistical skill metrics are calculated and compared across simulations at 0.25o, 0.5o and 1o spatial resolutions of each modeling approach at basin and topographic region levels. Results suggest significant scalability advantage for the subbasin-based approach compared to the grid-based approach for runoff generation. Basin level annual average relative errors of surface runoff at 0.25o, 0.5o, and 1o compared to 0.125o are 3%, 4%, and 6% for the subbasin-based configuration and 4%, 7%, and 11% for the grid-based configuration, respectively. The scalability advantages of the subbasin-based approach are more pronounced during winter/spring and over mountainous regions. The source of runoff scalability is found to be related to the scalability of major meteorological and land surface parameters of runoff generation. Moremore » specifically, the subbasin-based approach is more consistent across spatial scales than the grid-based approach in snowfall/rainfall partitioning, which is related to air temperature and surface elevation. Scalability of a topographic parameter used in the runoff parameterization also contributes to improved scalability of the rain driven saturated surface runoff component, particularly during winter. Hence this study demonstrates the importance of spatial structure for multi-scale modeling of hydrological processes, with implications to surface heat fluxes in coupled land-atmosphere modeling.« less
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  1. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland Washington USA
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2169-897X
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres; Journal Volume: 119; Journal Issue: 6
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States