Adaptive soil module

The German ministry of research (BMBF) has funded a large research program on seamless decadal climate prediction, MiKlip. This program aims at predicting the climatic changes for the coming decades, taking into account the current state of the climate.

As part of this program, the University of Bonn will develop the surface module for this prediction system (Linked page is in German). To be able to exploit the memory effects of the subsurface soil moisture a complete 3-dimensional hydrological model will be applied (intrinsic parametrization). As it is computationally inhibitive to run a hydrological model for the full model domain, this complex model will be run only in sub-catchments and used to estimate biases in more simple surface models (extrinsic parametrization), which will cover the full domain.


A simple vegetation model for NWP models has a fixed annual cycle of the leaf area index (LAI) for every land use type. This may often be a good parametrization, but, for example, in the year 2003 it would have failed in Europe. In this hot summer many smaller plants died or at least had a reduced LAI, which a dynamical vegetation model would notice. Detect this difference between the simple and the dynamical vegetation model in a few model catchments will likely be able to correct most of this problem; as drought is a large scale phenomenon, the difference can probably be well generalized to the full model domain by interpolating a multiplication factor. Similar correction are likely possible for differences in the water table depth, etc.

The complex parameterization will be based on the hydrological model ParFlow and a complete version of the Community Land Model (CLM). This parametrization will be developed in close cooperation with the Transregio 32. The simplified parameterization will be a simple version of the CLM. Both models will be implemented in the regional COSMO model. The model systems will be validated by the Research Centre Jülich based on TERENO data.

More information

For more information this project, please have a look at the project proposal. Similar adaptive schemes have already been developed for radiative transfer, another computationally intensive part of atmospheric models. If you would like to be informed about future developments, please send me an e-mail,
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