• land surface process;
  • warm season;
  • latent heat flux;
  • skin temperature


The Noah model is a land surface model of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. It has been widely used in regional coupled weather and climate models (i.e. Weather Research and Forecasting Model, Eta Mesoscale Model) and global coupled weather and climate models (i.e. National Centers for Environmental Prediction Global Forecast System, Climate Forecast System). Therefore, its continued improvement and development are keys to enhancing our weather and climate forecast ability and water and energy flux simulation accuracy. North American Land Data Assimilation System phase 1 (NLDAS-1) experiments indicated that the Noah model exhibited substantial bias in latent heat flux, total runoff and land skin temperature during the warm season, and such bias can significantly affect coupled weather and climate models. This paper presents a study to improve the Noah model by adding model parameterization processes such as including seasonal factor on leaf area index and root distribution and selecting optimal model parameters. We compared simulated latent heat flux, mean annual runoff and land skin temperature from the Noah control and test versions with measured latent heat flux, land surface skin temperature, mean annual runoff and satellite-retrieved land surface skin temperature. The results show that the test version significantly reduces biases in latent heat, total runoff and land skin temperature simulation. The test version has been used for the NLDAS phase 2 (NLDAS-2) to produce 30-year water flux, energy flux and state variable products to support the US drought monitor of National Integrated Drought Information System. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.