On the Frozen Soil Scheme for High Latitude Regions

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Arman Ganji and Laxmi Sushama, University of Quebec at Montreal UQAM, Montreal, QC, Canada
Regional and global climate model simulated streamflows for high-latitude regions show systematic biases, particularly in the timing and magnitude of spring peak flows. Though these biases could be related to the snow water equivalent and spring temperature biases in models, a good part of these biases is due to the unaccounted effects of non-uniform infiltration capacity of the frozen ground and other related processes. In this paper, the frozen scheme in the Canadian Land Surface Scheme (CLASS), which is used in the Canadian regional and global climate models, is modified to include fractional permeable area, supercooled liquid water and a new formulation for hydraulic conductivity. Interflow is also included in these experiments presented in this study to better explain the steamflows after snow melt season. The impact of these modifications on the regional hydrology, particularly streamflow, is assessed by comparing three simulations, performed with the original and two modified versions of CLASS, driven by atmospheric forcing data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) reanalysis data (ERA-Interim), for the 1990–2001 period, over a northeast Canadian domain. The two modified versions of CLASS differ in the soil hydraulic conductivity and matric potential formulations, with one version being based on formulations from a previous study and the other one is newly proposed. Results suggest statistically significant decreases in infiltration for the simulation with the new hydraulic conductivity and matric potential formulations and fractional permeable area concept, compared to the original version of CLASS, which is also reflected in the increased spring surface runoff and streamflows in this simulation with modified CLASS, over most of the study domain. The simulated spring peaks and their timing in this simulation is also in better agreement to those observed.