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DROUGHT-CH: WP4 - Land surface modelling, early warning, and seasonal forecasting of soil moisture and drought

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(31.01.2014): Congratulations to Benoit Guillod, who successfully defended his PhD thesis!

ETH (30.01.2014): Prof. Sonia Seneviratne is awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant

GEWEX News (11/2013): GEWEX welcomes the new Co-Chairs of the GEWEX Scientific Steering Group (SSG)

(05.08.2013): Prof. Sonia Seneviratne receives the James B. Macelwane Medal of the American Geophysical Union (AGU web site; EOS announcement)

(07.05.2013): Congratulations to Rene Orth, who successfully defended his PhD thesis!

ETH annual report (12/2012): Our research cited in the 2012 ETH annual report

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(23.11.2012): Congratulations to Ruth Lorenz, who successfully defended her PhD thesis!

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(27.01.2012): Congratulations to Brigitte Mueller, who successfully defended her PhD thesis!

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(02.11.2011): Congratulations to Heidi Mittelbach, who successfully defended her PhD thesis!

(12.10.2011): Congratulations to Paulo Oliveira who successfully defended his PhD thesis!

(18.09.2009): Congratulations to Eric Jäger, who successfully defended his PhD thesis!

Media & Reports

The Economist (08.03.2014): Global warming: Who pressed the pause button?

SRF2 Wissenschaftsmagazin (01.03.2014): Pause beim Klima (podcast 1.3.2014) [German]

Reuters (26.02.2014): Heat extremes increase despite global warming hiatus

Climate Central (26.02.2014): Climate change is increasing extreme heat globally

ETH (30.01.2014): Vier ETH-Forschende ausgezeichnet

RTS Telejournal 19h30 (03.10.2013): Changement climatique en Suisse [French]

RTS Mise au point (22.09.2013): Interview (Fonte des glaciers, GIEC) [French]

The Telegraph (14.11.2012): Droughts steady since 1950s

Nature Geoscience, Research highlights (31.08.2012): Dry heat

NZZ (29.08.2012): Die Crux mit den Extremen

NZZ Online (10.08.2012): Permanente Dürre in den USA?

ETH Life (17.07.2012): Bodenfeuchte und Hitzetage global untersucht; Soil moisture and hot days examined globally

Schweizer Bauer (17.07.2012): Forschung: Längere Trockenheit sagt Hitzewellen voraus

Tages Anzeiger (16.07.2012): ETH-Forscherinnen können Hitzewellen voraussagen

Los Angeles Times (16.07.2012): Dry spells may predict heat waves

ScienceDaily (27.05.2012): More Summer Heatwaves Likely in Europe: Predictability of European Summer Heat from Spring and Winter Rainfall

ETH Klimablog (10.05.2012): IPCC Sonderbericht zu Änderungen in Klimaextremen (IPCC SREX in Kürze)

ETH Life (29.03.2012): IPCC-Sonderbericht zu Klimaextremen; IPCC Special Report on Extreme Events and Disasters

ETH Klimablog (29.03.2012): Rigorose Qualitätskontrollen beim neusten IPCC-Sonderbericht

SciNevNet (28.03.2012): IPCC predicts rise in extreme climate events

Aqua & Gas (03/2012): On ne peut pas définir la sécheresse indépendamment du milieu impacté

Environmental Health Perspectives (01.02.2012): Managing the Risks of Extreme Weather: IPCC Special Report

ETH Globe (12/2011): Ab drei Grad wird's kritisch - Trockenheit und Landwirtschaft

Le Temps (26.11.2011): Vivre au sec, mode d'emploi

ETH Connect (09/2011): Ein Frühwarnsystem für magere Jahre

NFP61 DROUGHT-CH (08.06.2011): Video on DROUGHT-CH project [French; English sub-titles; German sub-titles]

Le Temps (16.05.2011): Mieux prédire les grandes canicules

SF Einstein (05.05.2011): Ein Frühling wie Sommer

SNF Journal Horizonte/Horizons (03/2011): Wenn die Atmosphäre zum Backofen wird ; Mieux prédire les canicules

NZZ (15.12.2010): Dürren bereiten den Boden für Hitzewellen

ETH Life (13.12.2010): Der Boden ist schuld; Soil responsible for heat waves

Nature Geoscience, News and Views (12.12.2010): Extreme heat rooted in dry soils

ETH Globe (11/2010): Vom Klimamodell zum Klimaservice

ETH Life (06.09.2010): Das Wald-Paradoxon bei Hitzewellen; The forest paradox during heatwaves

ETH Life (22.07.2010): Einfluss der Temperatur auf den «CO2-Atem»

Le Temps (22.07.2010): La Suisse doit adopter un système d'alertes sécheresse

3Sat (nano) (15.09.2009): Der Boden schützt uns bald nicht mehr vor Hitze. Die Schweiz durchzieht ihr Land mit Messstationen

ETH Life (22.08.2008): Der Bodenfeuchte auf den Grund gehen

SNF Journal Horizonte/Horizons (12/2008): Ein Klimaschlüssel liegt im Boden; Une clé du climat se cache dans le sol

Overview

The aim of this work package is to investigate the application of a land surface model for the simulation of drought and soil moisture depletion in Switzerland. This tool will be used to investigate the potential for early warning of drought and soil moisture depletion for present conditions, as well as under modified climate conditions as predicted by climate scenarios for the coming decades. Finally, a number of climate model experiments will be conducted to investigate the potential of soil moisture initialization for seasonal forecasting in Switzerland and Central Europe.

Details

As part of this work package, the potential of a land surface model for drought assessment and early warning in Switzerland will be investigated. Land surface models include a detailed representation of soil moisture, vegetation processes, and ground hydrology. Because of their higher complexity with regard to land surface processes controlling soil moisture and evapotranspiration, they are expected to perform better than simpler models such as those used in distributed hydrological models (e.g. WP5) for soil moisture estimation. This is particularly relevant for the prediction and simulation of agricultural droughts. The work package will include the following subprojects:
1) Retrospective simulations for recent decades: The Community Land Model from NCAR will be used for retrospective simulations over Switzerland and Central Europe over the time periods of the ERA-40 (1958-2002) and ERA-interim (1989-present) reanalysis products. Its skill in reproducing drought characteristics identified from data analysis (WP2) will be evaluated. Note that the coarse resolution of the ERA-40 and ERA-interim products (ca. 125 and 50 km, respectively) may be an issue when applying the model over Switzerland, in particular for resolutions higher than 50km. For these applications, we will test the use of observed high-resolution forcing from MeteoSwiss (see WP5).
2) Early warning potential: The real-time modelling of the land surface conditions can allow early warning for impinging droughts, given the memory characteristics associated with soil moisture storage (e.g. Koster and Suarez 2001, Seneviratne et al. 2006b). Using the simulations from 1), long-term persistence of soil moisture anomalies and lead time available for warning of drought conditions will be analysed. These results will be compared with the corresponding analyses for low flow under WP3 (part 4).
3) Modifications with climate change in coming decades: It is expected that soil moisture-climate relationships will be strongly modified as a consequence of climate change (Seneviratne et al. 2006a), with possible consequences for the persistence of soil moisture anomalies and resulting early warning skill. Such modifications in early warning skill need to be taken into account for the planning of the platform. We will investigate this issue with land surface model simulations with the Community Land Model driven with climate scenario data from the projects CC Hydro and EU-FP6 ENSEMBLES.
4) Potential of soil moisture initialization for seasonal forecasting: Finally, soil moisture initialization may also impact seasonal forecasting further than through soil moisture persistence alone, namely through feedbacks to the atmosphere (Koster et al. 2004, Seneviratne et al. 2006a). We will investigate the potential of soil moisture initialization for the seasonal forecasting of droughts in Switzerland and Central Europe using climate model simulations from the new GLACE-2 experiment (follow-up to Koster et al. 2004) and a selected number of experiment with the coupled CLM-CLM model (i.e. COSMO-Climate model coupled to the Community Land Model).

Partners

Synergies with on-going projects

 

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