Using 19 yr of Chinese soil moisture data from 1981 to 1999, the authors evaluate soil moisture in three reanalysis outputs: the 40-yr European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA-40); the National Centers for Environmental Prediction-National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP-NCAR) reanalysis 1 (R-1); and the NCEP-Department of Energy (DOE) reanalysis 2 (R-2) over China. R-2 shows improved interannual variability and better seasonal patterns of soil moisture than R-1 as the result of the incorporation of observed precipitation, but not for all stations. ERA-40 produces a better mean value of soil moisture for most Chinese stations and good interannual variability. Limited observations in the spring indicate a spring soil moisture peak for most of the stations. ERA-40 generally reproduced this event, while R-1 or R-2 generally did not capture this feature, either because the soil was already saturated or the deep soil layer was too thick and damped such a response. ERA-40 and R-1 have a temporal time scale comparable to observations, but R-2 has a memory of nearly 5 months for the growing season, about twice the temporal scale of the observations. The cold season tends to prolong soil moisture memory by about 3 months for R-2 and 1 month for ERA-40. The unrealistic long temporal scale of R-2 can be attributed to the deep layer of the land surface model, which is too thick and dominates the soil moisture variability. R-1 has the same land surface scheme as R-2, but shows a temporal scale close to observations, which is actually because of soil moisture nudging to a fixed climatology. This new long time series of observed soil moisture will prove valuable for other studies of climate change, remote sensing, and model evaluation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science