92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Monday, 23 January 2012
Evaluating the Impacts of NASA/SPoRT Daily Greenness Vegetation Fraction on Land Surface Model and Numerical Weather Forecasts
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Jordan R. Bell, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO; and J. L. Case, F. J. LaFontaine, and S. V. Kumar
Manuscript (2.3 MB)

Poster PDF (1.3 MB)

The NASA Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) Center has developed a Greenness Vegetation Fraction (GVF) dataset, which is updated daily using swaths of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data aboard the NASA EOS Aqua and Terra satellites. NASA SPoRT began generating daily real-time GVF composites at 1-km resolution over the Continental United States (CONUS) on 1 June 2010. The purpose of this study is to compare the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) climatology GVF product (currently used in operational weather models) to the SPoRT-MODIS GVF during June to October 2010.

The NASA Land Information System (LIS) was employed to study the impacts of the SPoRT-MODIS GVF dataset on a land surface model (LSM) apart from a full numerical weather prediction (NWP) model. For the 2010 warm season, the SPoRT GVF in the western portion of the CONUS was generally higher than the NCEP climatology. The eastern CONUS GVF had variations both above and below the climatology during the period of study. These variations in GVF led to direct impacts on the rates of heating and evaporation from the land surface. In the West, higher latent heat fluxes prevailed, which enhanced the rates of evapotranspiration and soil moisture depletion in the LSM. By late Summer and Autumn, both the average sensible and latent heat fluxes increased in the West as a result of the more rapid soil drying and higher coverage of GVF.

The impacts of the SPoRT GVF dataset on NWP was also examined for a single severe weather case study using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Two separate coupled LIS/WRF model simulations were made for the 17 July 2010 severe weather event in the Upper Midwest using the NCEP and SPoRT GVFs, with all other model parameters remaining the same. Based on the sensitivity results, regions with higher GVF in the SPoRT model runs had higher evapotranspiration and lower direct surface heating, which typically resulted in lower (higher) predicted 2-m temperatures (2-m dewpoint temperatures). Portions of the Northern Plains states experienced substantial increases in convective available potential energy as a result of the higher SPoRT/MODIS GVFs. These differences produced subtle yet quantifiable differences in the simulated convective precipitation systems for this event.

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