The Need for Including Surface Temperature in Land-Model Evaluations (Extended Abstract)

TitleThe Need for Including Surface Temperature in Land-Model Evaluations (Extended Abstract)
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2016
AuthorsLapo, Karl E., Raleigh Mark, Keenan Eric, Cristea Nicoleta, and Lundquist Jessica
Conference Name84th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date Published2016
Conference LocationSeattle, Washington

Physically-based models form the basis of our understanding of snow processes, especially in climates and locations with limited observations. However, process representations vary greatly between snow models. As the basis of our physical understanding, it is critical that we understand what model components are necessary for representing snow processes accurately. Snow model intercomparison studies repeatedly demonstrate divergence between simulated values, such as the snow water equivalent (SWE), but are unable to conclude what model processes are responsible (Slater et al., 2001; Feng et al., 2008; Rutter et al., 2009; Essery et al., 2013). This inability to describe what makes a snow model “good” degrades the community’s understanding of current and future energy and water cycles. We interpret this divergence between models to signify, at least in part, that the surface energy balance (SEB) of snow is not well known. In response, we argue for the inclusion of surface temperature (Ts) observations in future modeling studies and observation sites to better constrain the snow SEB.