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Impact of soil water property parameterization on atmospheric boundary layer simulation


  • Richard H. Cuenca,

  • Michael Ek,

  • Larry Mahrt


Both the form of functional relationships applied for soil water properties and the natural field-scale variability of such properties can significantly impact simulation of the soil-plant-atmosphere system on a diurnal timescale. Various input parameters for soil water properties including effective saturation, residual water content, anerobiosis point, field capacity, and permanent wilting point are incorporated into functions describing soil water retention, hydraulic conductivity, diffusivity, sorptivity, and the plant sink function. The perception of the meaning of these values and their variation within a natural environment often differs from the perspective of the soil physicist, plant physiologist, and atmospheric scientist. This article investigates the sensitivity of energy balance and boundary layer simulation to different soil water property functions using the Oregon State University coupled atmosphere-plant-soil (CAPS) simulation model under bare soil conditions. The soil parameterizations tested in the CAPS model include those of Clapp and Hornberger [1978], van Genuchten [1980], and Cosby et al. [1984] using initial atmospheric conditions from June 16, 1986 in Hydrologic Atmospheric Pilot Experiment-Modélisation du Bilan Hydrique (HAPEX-MOBILHY). For the bare soil case these results demonstrate unexpected model sensitivity to soil water property parameterization in partitioning all components of the diurnal energy balance and corresponding boundary layer development.

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