Inverse modeling of hydrologic parameters using surface flux and runoff observations in the Community Land Model
Abstract. This study demonstrates the possibility of inverting hydrologic parameters using surface flux and runoff observations in version 4 of the Community Land Model (CLM4). Previous studies showed that surface flux and runoff calculations are sensitive to major hydrologic parameters in CLM4 over different watersheds, and illustrated the necessity and possibility of parameter calibration. Both deterministic least-square fitting and stochastic Markov-chain Monte Carlo (MCMC)-Bayesian inversion approaches are evaluated by applying them to CLM4 at selected sites with different climate and soil conditions. The unknowns to be estimated include surface and subsurface runoff generation parameters and vadose zone soil water parameters. We find that using model parameters calibrated by the sampling-based stochastic inversion approaches provides significant improvements in the model simulations compared to using default CLM4 parameter values, and that as more information comes in, the predictive intervals (ranges of posterior distributions) of the calibrated parameters become narrower. In general, parameters that are identified to be significant through sensitivity analyses and statistical tests are better calibrated than those with weak or nonlinear impacts on flux or runoff observations. Temporal resolution of observations has larger impacts on the results of inverse modeling using heat flux data than runoff data. Soil and vegetation cover have important impacts on parameter sensitivities, leading to different patterns of posterior distributions of parameters at different sites. Overall, the MCMC-Bayesian inversion approach effectively and reliably improves the simulation of CLM under different climates and environmental conditions. Bayesian model averaging of the posterior estimates with different reference acceptance probabilities can smooth the posterior distribution and provide more reliable parameter estimates, but at the expense of wider uncertainty bounds.