A multiphysical ensemble system of numerical snow modelling

Other literature type English OPEN
Lafaysse, Matthieu ; Cluzet, Bertrand ; Dumont, Marie ; Lejeune, Yves ; Vionnet, Vincent ; Morin, Samuel (2017)

Physically based multilayer snowpack models suffer from various modelling errors. To represent these errors, we built the new multi-physical ensemble system ESCROC (Ensemble System Crocus) by implementing new representations of different physical processes in the deterministic coupled multi-layer ground/snowpack model SURFEX/ISBA/Crocus. This ensemble was driven and evaluated at Col de Porte (1325 m a.s.l., French alps) over 18 years with a high quality meteorological and snow dataset. 7776 simulations were evaluated separately accounting for the uncertainties of evaluation data. The ability of the ensemble to capture the uncertainty associated to modelling errors is assessed for snow depth, snow water equivalent, bulk density, albedo and surface temperature. Different sub-ensembles of the ESCROC system were studied with probabilistic tools to compare their performance. Results show that optimal members of the ESCROC system are able to explain more than half of the total simulation errors. Integrating members with biases exceeding the range corresponding to observations uncertainties is necessary to obtain an optimal dispersion, but this issue can also be a consequence of the fact that meterorological forcing uncertainties were not accounted for. ESCROC is a promising system to integrate numerical snow modelling errors in ensemble forecasting and ensemble assimilation systems in support of avalanche hazard forecasting and other snowpack modelling applications.
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