A new metric is proposed to quantify the land-atmosphere (LA) coupling strength and is elaborated by correlating the surface evaporative fraction and impacting land and atmosphere variables (e.g., soil moisture, vegetation, and radiation). Based upon multiple linear regression, this approach simultaneously considers multiple factors and thus represents complex LA coupling mechanisms better than existing single variable metrics. The standardized regression coefficients quantify the relative contributions from individual drivers in a consistent manner, avoiding the potential inconsistency in relative influence of conventional metrics. Moreover, the unique expendable feature of the new method allows us to verify and explore potentially important coupling mechanisms. Our observation-based application of the new metric shows moderate coupling with large spatial variations at the U.S. Southern Great Plains. The relative importance of soil moisture vs. vegetation varies by location. We also show that LA coupling strength is generally underestimated by single variable methods due to their incompleteness. We also apply this new metric to evaluate the representation of LA coupling in the Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy (ACME) V1 Contiguous United States (CONUS) regionally refined model (RRM).
This work is performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344. LLNL-ABS-734201