Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1002/2016JD025097
Title (Primary) The impact of standard and hard-coded parameters on the hydrologic fluxes in the Noah-MP land surface model
Author Cuntz, M.; Mai, J.; Samaniego, L. ORCID logo ; Clark, M.; Wulfmeyer, V.; Branch, O.; Attinger, S.; Thober, S.
Source Titel Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres
Year 2016
Department CHS
Volume 121
Issue 18
Page From 10676
Page To 10700
Language englisch
Keywords Sensitivity Analysis; Hidden Parameters; Sobol; Noah-MP; Parameter Screening
UFZ wide themes RU5;
Abstract Land surface models incorporate a large number of process descriptions, containing a multitude of parameters. These parameters are typically read from tabulated input files. Some of these parameters might be fixed numbers in the computer code though, which hinders model agility during calibration. Here we identified 139 hard-coded parameters in the model code of the Noah land surface model with multiple process options (Noah-MP). We performed a Sobol' global sensitivity analysis of Noah-MP for a specific set of process options which includes 42 out of the 71 standard parameters and 75 of the 139 hard-coded parameters. The sensitivities of the hydrologic output fluxes latent heat and total runoff as well as their component fluxes were evaluated at twelve catchments within the United States with very different hydro-meteorological regimes.

Noah-MP's hydrologic output fluxes are sensitive to two thirds of its applicable standard parameters (i.e. Sobol' indexes above 1%). The most sensitive parameter is, however, a hard-coded value in the formulation of soil surface resistance for direct evaporation, which proved to be oversensitive in other land surface models as well. Surface runoff is sensitive to almost all hard-coded parameters of the snow processes and the meteorological inputs. These parameter sensitivities diminish in total runoff. Assessing these parameters in model calibration would require detailed snow observations or the calculation of hydrologic signatures of the runoff data. Latent heat and total runoff exhibit very similar sensitivities because of their tight coupling via the water balance. A calibration of Noah-MP against either of these fluxes should therefore give comparable results. Moreover, these fluxes are sensitive to both plant and soil parameters. Calibrating, for example, only soil parameters thus limits the ability to derive realistic model parameters.

It is thus recommended to include the most sensitive hard-coded model parameters that were exposed in this study when calibrating Noah-MP.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Cuntz, M., Mai, J., Samaniego, L., Clark, M., Wulfmeyer, V., Branch, O., Attinger, S., Thober, S. (2016):
The impact of standard and hard-coded parameters on the hydrologic fluxes in the Noah-MP land surface model
J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos. 121 (18), 10676 - 10700 10.1002/2016JD025097