High-Resolution Land Surface Parameters for the Community Land Model


Land cover and land use, topography, and soil properties contribute to land surface heterogeneity around the world. As the resolution of climate models increases, it is critical to capture fine-scale land features in the land-surface datasets that drive the models. U.S. Department of Energy scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed a high-resolution, gridded dataset at 0.05 degree resolution for the Community Land Model (CLM). This
dataset includes plant functional types (PFTs), leaf area index (LAI), stem area index (SAI), and non-vegetated land cover composition. When they compared the new surface parameters with those currently used in CLM4 at 0.5 degree resolution, the researchers found that the new parameters resolve more diverse subgrid PFTs within each 0.5 degree grid cell. The new dataset also shows more contributions from shrubs, grass, and crops as opposed to bare soil
and a global decrease in LAI in boreal forests, but a large increase in LAI in tropical forests. This study demonstrated the use of the new high-resolution data in a coupled land-atmosphere model coupled to the CLM at 12 km resolution over the western United States. This analysis showed the important spatial details in surface fluxes being resolved by high-resolution modeling, which, in turn, would influence the climate.


Ke, Y., L. R. Leung, M. Huang, A. M. Coleman, H. Li, and M. S. Wigmosta. 2012. “Development of High-Resolution Land Surface Parameters for the Community Land Model,” Geoscientific Model Development 5, 1341–62. DOI: 10.5194/gmd-5-1341-2012.