Validation of lake surface state in the HIRLAM v.7.4 numerical weather prediction model against in situ measurements in Finland

Rontu, Laura; Eerola, Kalle; Horttanainen, Matti

The High Resolution Limited Area Model (HIRLAM), used for the operational numerical weather prediction in the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), includes prognostic treatment of lake surface state since 2012. Forecast is based on the Freshwater Lake (FLake) model integrated into HIRLAM. Additionally, an independent objective analysis of lake surface water temperature (LSWT) combines the short forecast of FLake to observations from the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). The resulting description of lake surface state – forecast FLake variables and analysed LSWT – was compared to SYKE observations of lake water temperature, freeze-up and break-up dates, and the ice thickness and snow depth for 2012–2018 over 45 lakes in Finland. During the ice-free period, the predicted LSWT corresponded to the observations with a slight overestimation, with a systematic error of +0.91 K. The colder temperatures were underrepresented and the maximum temperatures were too high. The objective analysis of LSWT was able to reduce the bias to +0.35 K. The predicted freeze-up dates corresponded well to the observed dates, mostly within the accuracy of a week. The forecast break-up dates were far too early, typically several weeks ahead of the observed dates. The growth of ice thickness after freeze-up was generally overestimated. However, practically no predicted snow appeared on lake ice. The absence of snow, presumably due to an incorrect security coefficient value, is suggested to be also the main reason for the inaccurate simulation of the lake ice melting in spring.

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Rontu, Laura / Eerola, Kalle / Horttanainen, Matti: Validation of lake surface state in the HIRLAM v.7.4 numerical weather prediction model against in situ measurements in Finland. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Laura Rontu et al.

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