The community Noah land surface model with multiparameterization options (Noah-MP): 2. Evaluation over global river basins

Zong Liang Yang, Guo Yue Niu, Kenneth E. Mitchell, Fei Chen, Michael B. Ek, Michael Barlage, Laurent Longuevergne, Kevin Manning, Dev Niyogi, Mukul Tewari, Youlong Xia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

500 Scopus citations


The augmented Noah land surface model described in the first part of the two-part series was evaluated here over global river basins. Across various climate zones, global-scale tests can reveal a model's weaknesses and strengths that a local-scale testing cannot. In addition, global-scale tests are more challenging than local- and catchment-scale tests. Given constant model parameters (e. g., runoff parameters) across global river basins, global-scale tests are more stringent. We assessed model performance against various satellite and ground-based observations over global river basins through six experiments that mimic a transition from the original Noah LSM to the fully augmented version. The model shows transitional improvements in modeling runoff, soil moisture, snow, and skin temperature, despite considerable increase in computational time by the fully augmented Noah-MP version compared to the original Noah LSM. The dynamic vegetation model favorably captures seasonal and spatial variability of leaf area index and green vegetation fraction. We also conducted 36 ensemble experiments with 36 combinations of optional schemes for runoff, leaf dynamics, stomatal resistance, and the β factor. Runoff schemes play a dominant and different role in controlling soil moisture and its relationship with evapotranspiration compared to ecological processes such as β the factor, vegetation dynamics, and stomatal resistance. The 36-member ensemble mean of runoff performs better than any single member over the world's 50 largest river basins, suggesting a great potential of land-based ensemble simulations for climate prediction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberD12110
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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