EGU21-8492, updated on 04 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Land surface Interactions with the Atmosphere over the Iberian Semi-arid Environment (LIAISE): 1st modelling intercomparison

Maria A. Jiménez1, Joan Cuxart1, Antoni Grau1, Aaron Boone2, Sylvie Donier2, Patrick Le Moigne2, Josep R. Miró3, Jordi More3, Alessandro Tiesi4, Piero Malguzzi4, Jennifer Brooke5, and Martin Best5
Maria A. Jiménez et al.
  • 1Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma, Spain
  • 2CNRM, Meteo-France/CNRS, Toulouse, France
  • 3Servei Meteorològic de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
  • 4CNR-ISAC, Bologna, Italy
  • 5Met Office, Exeter, UK

Land surface-atmosphere interactions determine the atmospheric boundary layer  (ABL) features, and in the case of semi-arid regions the water availability in the upper ground strongly conditions the surface energy balance and in general the observed dominant processes. LIAISE (Land surface Interactions with the Atmosphere over the Iberian Semi-arid Environment, eastern Ebro sub-basin) is an observational campaign planned between spring and fall 2021 designed to study the land/atmosphere interactions and the effect of the surface heterogeneities on the ABL in a semi-arid environment enclosing a large irrigated area in summer.

The combined analysis of the ground-based observations and ABL atmospheric measurements, including aircraft and remote-sensing data, is expected to improve the understanding of processes affecting exchange fluxes between the surface and the atmosphere, especially evapotranspiration, and to allow exploring the local and mesoscale circulations induced by the surface heterogeneities. In this sense, mesoscale simulations will be performed over the eastern Ebro sub-basin to contribute to this understanding while evaluating the representation of the surface features in the numerical models and its impact in the organisation of the flow at lower levels.

A first mesoscale modelling inter-comparison for a 2016 summer event in the LIAISE area, is under progress, intended to evaluate the performance of the participating models compared to the observations and explore the differences between them, trying to understand the reasons behind them. In this initial phase the models are run at their standard configurations and the comparison is expected to allow improvements in the definitions of the setup of each model for a later phase.

Four models participate in the inter-comparison: MesoNH, WRF, UKMO Unified Model and MOLOCH. They are run with similar horizontal (2km x 2km and 400m x 400m for the outer and inner domains) and vertical (2m at lower levels and stretched above) grid meshes and, in this first phase, using their default setup. A 48-h integration is made between 16 and 18 July 2016 for a case under a high-pressure system centred over NW France, with well developed thermally-driven circulations in the Ebro Basin. Sea breezes are found at the coast and seem to reach the basin after surmounting the mountain coastal range.

Preliminary results show that each model has a different representation of the surface heterogeneities affecting the grid values of the surface fluxes. Nevertheless, the mesoscale circulations generated by them do not differ significantly between models, the differences lying mostly at smaller scales, namely the ABL characteristics, the values of the exchange fluxes at the surface or the state of the surface and the soil. The challenge at this point is to relate the observed differences to the particularities of the parameterisations and of the physiographic data bases used by each model.


How to cite: Jiménez, M. A., Cuxart, J., Grau, A., Boone, A., Donier, S., Le Moigne, P., Miró, J. R., More, J., Tiesi, A., Malguzzi, P., Brooke, J., and Best, M.: Land surface Interactions with the Atmosphere over the Iberian Semi-arid Environment (LIAISE): 1st modelling intercomparison, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8492,, 2021.

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