Spatial Variability in Land-Atmosphere Coupling Strength at the ARM Southern Great Plains Site under Different Cloud Regimes

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - 13:40
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The paucity of land/soil observations is a long-standing limitation for land-atmosphere (LA) coupling studies, in particular for estimating the spatial variability in the coupling strengths. Spatially dense atmospheric radiation measurement (ARM) sites deployed at the U.S. Southern Great Plains (SGP) covers a wide range of vegetation, surface, and soil types, and thus allow us to observe the spatial patterns of LA coupling. The upcoming "super site" at SGP will facilitate these studies at even finer scales. While many previous studies have focused only on the observations from the central facility (CF) site or the domain mean from multiple sites, in the present work we examine the robustness of many key surface and land observations (e.g., radiation, turbulence fluxes, soil moisture, etc.) at extended sites besides the CF site for a decade. The coupling strengths are estimated with temporal covariations between important variables. We subsample the data to different categories based on different cloud regimes (e.g., clear sky, shallow cumulus, and deep cumulus. These cloud regimes are strongly impacted by local factors. The spatial variability of coupling strengths at different ARM sites is assessed with respect to dominant drivers (i.e., vegetation, land type, etc.). The results of this study will provide insights for improving the representation of LA coupling in climate models by providing observational constraints to parameterizations, e.g., shallow convective schemes.

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