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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-578
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-578
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  13 Nov 2020

13 Nov 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Impact of frozen soil processes on soil thermal characteristics at seasonal to decadal scales over the Tibetan Plateau and North China

Qian Li1, Yongkang Xue2,3, and Ye Liu2 Qian Li et al.
  • 1Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100029, China
  • 2Department of Geography, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), CA, 90095-1524, USA
  • 3Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, UCLA, CA, 90095-1524, USA

Abstract. Frozen soil processes are of great importance in controlling surface water and energy balances during the cold season and in cold regions. Over recent decades, considerable frozen soil degradation and surface soil warming have been reported over the Tibetan Plateau and North China, but most land surface models have difficulty in capturing the freeze-thaw cycle and few validations focus on the effects of frozen soil processes on soil thermal characteristics in these regions. This paper addresses these issues by introducing a physically more realistic and computationally more stable and efficient frozen soil module (FSM) into a land surface model—the third-generation Simplified Simple Biosphere model (SSiB3-FSM). To overcome the difficulties in achieving stable numerical solutions for frozen soil, a new semi-implicit scheme and a physics-based freezing-thawing scheme were applied to solve the governing equations. The performance of this model, as well as the effects of frozen soil process on the soil temperature profile and soil thermal characteristics, were investigated over the Tibetan Plateau and North China using observation and models. Results show that the SSiB3 model with the FSM produces more realistic soil temperature profile and its seasonal variation than that without FSM during the freezing and thawing periods. The freezing process in soil delays the winter cooling, while the thawing process delays the summer warming. The time lag and amplitude damping of temperature become more pronounced with increasing depth. These processes are well simulated in SSiB3-FSM. The freeze-thaw processes could increase the simulated phase lag days and land memory at different soil depths, as well as the soil memory change with the soil thickness. Furthermore, compared with observations, SSiB3-FSM produces a realistic change of maximum frozen soil depth at decadal scales. This study shows the soil thermal characteristics at seasonal to decadal scales over frozen ground can be greatly improved in SSiB3-FSM and SSiB3-FSM can be used as an effective model for TP and NC simulation during cold reasons.

Qian Li et al.

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Qian Li et al.

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Short summary
Most land surface models have difficulty in capturing the freeze-thaw cycle in Tibetan Plateau and North China. This paper addresses the issues by introducing a physically more realistic and efficient frozen soil module (FSM) into SSiB3 model (SSiB3-FSM). A new and more stable semi-implicit scheme and a physics-based freezing-thawing scheme were applied and results show SSiB3-FSM can be used as an effective model for soil thermal characteristics at seasonal to decadal scales over frozen ground.
Most land surface models have difficulty in capturing the freeze-thaw cycle in Tibetan Plateau...
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