Impact of an Exponential Profile of Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity within the ISBA LSM: Simulations over the Rhône Basin

B. Decharme, H. Douville, A. Boone, F. Habets, J. Noilhan
2006 Journal of Hydrometeorology  
This study focuses on the influence of an exponential profile of saturated hydraulic conductivity, k sat , with soil depth on the water budget simulated by the Interaction Soil Biosphere Atmosphere (ISBA) land surface model over the French Rhône River basin. With this exponential profile, the saturated hydraulic conductivity at the surface increases by approximately a factor of 10, and its mean value increases in the root zone and decreases in the deeper region of the soil in comparison with
more » ... comparison with the values given by Clapp and Hornberger. This new version of ISBA is compared to the original version in offline simulations using the Rhône-Aggregation high-resolution database. Low-resolution simulations, where all atmospheric data and surface parameters have been aggregated, are also performed to test the impact of the modified k sat profile at the typical scale of a climate model. The simulated discharges are compared to observations from a dense network consisting of 88 gauging stations. Results of the high-resolution experiments show that the exponential profile of k sat globally improves the simulated discharges and that the assumption of an increase in saturated hydraulic conductivity from the soil surface to a depth close to the rooting depth in comparison with values given by Clapp and Hornberger is reasonable. Results of the scaling experiments indicate that this parameterization is also suitable for largescale hydrological applications. Nevertheless, low-resolution simulations with both model versions overestimate evapotranspiration (especially from the plant transpiration and the wet fraction of the canopy) to the detriment of total runoff, which emphasizes the need for implementing subgrid distribution of precipitation and land surface properties in large-scale hydrological applications.
doi:10.1175/jhm469.1 fatcat:yjieb76hmbfwncw464lpogozsi