Impact of Initial Soil Temperature Derived from Remote Sensing and Numerical Weather Prediction Datasets on the Simulation of Extreme Heat Events

Igor Gómez, Vicente Caselles, María Estrela, Raquel Niclòs
2016 Remote Sensing  
Extreme heat weather events have received increasing attention and has become of special importance as they can remarkably affect sectors as diverse as public health, energy consumption, water resources, natural biodiversity and agricultural production. In this regard, summer temperatures have become a parameter of essential interest under a framework of a hypothetical increase in the number of intense-heat conditions. Thus, their forecast is a crucial aspect bearing in mind a mitigation of the
more » ... a mitigation of the effects and impacts that these intense-heat situations could produce. The current work tries to reach a better understanding of these sorts of situations that are really common over the Western Mediterranean coast. An extreme heat episode that took place in the Valencia Region in July 2009 is analysed, based on the simulations performed with the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS). This event recorded maximum temperatures exceeding 40˝C amply extended over the region besides reaching minimum temperatures up to 25.92˝C. We examine the role of improved skin and soil temperature (ST) initial conditions in the forecast results by means of different modelling and satellite-derived products. The influence of incorporating the Land Surface Temperature (LST) into RAMS is not found to produce a meaningful impact on the simulation results, independently of the resolution of the dataset used in the initial conditions of the model. In contrast, the introduction of the ST in lower levels, not only the skin temperature, has a more marked decisive effect in the simulation. Additionally, we have evaluated the influence of increasing the number of soil levels to spread deeper underground. This sensitivity experiment has revealed that more soil levels do not produce any meaningful impact on the simulation compared to the original one. In any case, RAMS is able to properly capture the observed patterns in those cases where a Western advection is widely extended over the area of study. This region's variability in orography and in distances to the sea promotes the development of sea-breeze circulations, thus producing a convergence of two opposite wind flows, a Western synoptic advection and a sea-breeze circulation. As a result, the RAMS skill in those cases where a sea breeze is well developed depends on the proper location of the boundary and convergence lines of these two flows.
doi:10.3390/rs8070589 fatcat:jh3nwfv7pzhyrew6e5psmya36m