Modeling snowpack dynamics and surface energy budget in boreal and subarctic peatlands and forests

Nousu, Jari-Pekka; Lafaysse, Matthieu; Mazzotti, Giulia; Ala-aho, Pertti; Marttila, Hannu; Cluzet, Bertrand; Aurela, Mika; Lohila, Annalea; Kolari, Pasi; Boone, Aaron; Fructus, Mathieu; Launiainen, Samuli

The snowpack has a major influence on the land surface energy budget. Accurate simulation of the snowpack energy and radiation budget is challenging due to, e.g., effects of vegetation and topography, as well as limitations in the theoretical understanding of turbulent transfer in the stable boundary layer. Studies that evaluate snow, hydrology and land surface models against detailed observations of all surface energy balance components at high latitudes are scarce. In this study, we compared different configurations of the SURFEX land surface model against surface energy flux, snow depth and soil temperature observations from four eddy-covariance stations in Finland. The sites cover two different climate and snow conditions, representing the southern and northern subarctic zones, as well as the contrasting forest and peatland ecosystems typical for the boreal landscape. We tested different turbulent flux parameterizations implemented in the Crocus snowpack model. In addition, we examined common alternative approaches to conceptualize soil and vegetation, and we assessed their performance in simulating surface energy fluxes, snow conditions and soil thermal regime. Our results show that a stability correction function that increases the turbulent exchange under stable atmospheric conditions is imperative to simulate sensible heat fluxes over the peatland snowpacks and that realistic peat soil texture (soil organic content) parameterization greatly improves the soil temperature simulations. For accurate simulations of surface energy fluxes, snow and soil conditions in forests, an explicit vegetation representation is necessary. Moreover, we demonstrate the high sensitivity of surface fluxes to a poorly documented parameter involved in snow cover fraction computation. Although we focused on models within the SURFEX platform, the results have broader implications for choosing suitable turbulent flux parameterization and model structures depending on the potential use cases for high-latitude land surface modeling.



Nousu, Jari-Pekka / Lafaysse, Matthieu / Mazzotti, Giulia / et al: Modeling snowpack dynamics and surface energy budget in boreal and subarctic peatlands and forests. 2024. Copernicus Publications.


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