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Project Number:
Use of satellite data to improve specifications of land surface parameters
Lead PI:
Richard McNider
Institution(s) Represented:
University of Alabama in Huntsville - Richard McNider
AQRP Project Manager:
Elena McDonald-Buller
TCEQ Project Liaison:
Bright Dornblaser
Awarded Amount:

It is the purpose of this proposal to continue a process to evaluate and improve the performance of the land surface models used in WRF by the use of satellite skin temperatures to better specify physical parameters associated with land use classes. Improved temperature performance impacts biogenic emissions, thermal decomposition (chemical chain lengths and slopes of ozone/NOy curves) and thermally driven winds. Also, land surface parameters control surface deposition which impacts the efficacy of long-range transport. Physical parameters such as heat capacity, thermal resistance, roughness, surface moisture availability, albedo etc. associated with a land use class are actually used in the land surface model. Many of the land use class associated parameters such as surface moisture availability are dynamic and ill-observed  depending on antecedent precipitation and evaporation, soil transport, the phenological state of the vegetation, irrigation applications etc. Other parameters such as heat capacity, thermal resistance or deep soil temperature are not only difficult to observe they are often unknowable a priori. Despite the difficulty in specifying these parameters they are incredibly important to model predictions of turbulence, temperature, boundary layer heights and winds.
This proposal is directed toward the Meteorology and Air Quality Modeling and Biogenic Emissions Priority. Biogenic emissions are highly sensitive to temperature. Improvement in temperature predictions in conjunction with improved radiation inputs into biogenic emission model (MEGAN or BEIS) should increase the quality of biogenic emissions. The proposal is responsive to three areas in the Meteorology and Air Quality Modeling Priority- (1) boundary layer performance can impact local circulations driven by thermal gradients and the strength of low level jets is controlled by nighttime surface cooling rates; (2) boundary layers can impact clouds both boundary layer topped cumulus and clouds in sea breeze convergence zones; (3) dry deposition of ozone and nitrogen species is often controlled by stomatal uptake which depends on soil moisture.
The proposal will continue and expand activities under a 2015 funded AQRP project using satellite observed skin temperatures. That project was a late selected reduced scope project.  Despite some initial issues with a NOAA skin temperature data set, the project ended up showing improvement in model performance for skin temperatures and in wind performance. However, the improvements were not as large as in previous uses of skin temperature data. Part of this may be due to following the Pleim-Xiu air temperature approach in the project, in which absolute differences between model and observed skin temperatures were used rather than skin temperature tendencies. Differences between the model and satellite skin temperatures not related to the boundary layer parameters such as emissivity or atmospheric correction in the satellite product might be an issue. Under this activity skin temperature tendencies will be tested instead which avoids such problems. The DISCOVER AQ period of 2013 was an unusually cloudy and windy period over most of the Eastern U.S. and not characteristic of the conditions usually associated with ozone episodes in Texas. While significant effort went into QA for the skin temperature data set, cloud contamination in the skin temperatures may still be an issue. Under the current activity alternative skin temperature products such as MODIS data will used in conjunction with the tendency method that may reduce cloud contamination issues. Also, in consultation with TCEQ additional periods such as TEXAQS 2006 or the 2012 SIP period will be examined. Finally, the work on the previous project included emphasis on the large 12-km domain. Under this activity a greater emphasis will be given to fine scale model performance around Houston and Dallas. Particular attention will be given to wind changes due to changes in boundary layer parameters including changes in sea breezes and low level jets.

Work Plan:
Technical Report(s):
Final Report: