CGD Seminar- Advances in land surface modeling and prediction to support risk-based water and emergency management and planning

Andy Wood

May. 9, 2023

11:00 am – 12:00 pm MDT



Main content

Water-related applications and decision making from the short-range to the climate scale commonly rely on hydrologic modeling that must provide both strategic information over large domains (up to global) as well as high quality information at local watershed scales. Over the last decade, new paradigms for hydrologic prediction have emerged, as well as new modeling frameworks, earth observations and tools to support these paradigms. Growing water security challenges have motivated stakeholder-driven efforts involving the co-development of science and applications to enhance the utility of water cycle measurements, modeling, prediction, and projection approaches. Over the last ten years, for example, a collaboration between researchers in NCAR, federal US water agencies, and several universities, have advanced the SUMMA and MizuRoute hydrologic and streamflow routing models.  Together with high-quality ensemble forcing approaches, these now afford flexible, multi-parameterization modeling solutions for local, national, continental, and global scale land surface simulation and prediction. A particular emphasis has been improving streamflow prediction from flood to climate change timelines and support for water management and planning. We have applied this modeling approach for short-range prediction to multi-decadal projection in the western US, for North American and for a global extent, using catchment- based hydrologic implementations and reach-based river routing. More recently, burgeoning interest of the coupled Earth System Modeling (ESM) community in ‘actionable’ science has fostered efforts to understand whether and how land models such as the NCAR CLM, which are not traditionally used in applied hydrology, could become more directly relevant to water security-related applications.  Even the World Meteorological Organization, which has long focused on establishing standards and building capacity in weather and climate, is  now prioritizing activities to encompass hydrological and water concerns. This presentation describes the development and use of offline land/hydrology models in stakeholder-based applied science efforts, as well as new efforts to converge CLM toward this realm of actionable science.