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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/bgd-11-1801-2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bgd-11-1801-2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 29 Jan 2014

Submitted as: research article | 29 Jan 2014

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG). The revised manuscript was not accepted.

A model–data intercomparison of simulated runoff in the contiguous United States: results from the North America Carbon Regional and Continental Interim-Synthesis

C. R. Schwalm1, D. N. Huntinzger1,2, R. B. Cook3, Y. Wei3, I. T. Baker4, R. P. Neilson5, B. Poulter6, P. Caldwell7, G. Sun7, H. Q. Tian8, and N. Zeng9 C. R. Schwalm et al.
  • 1School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
  • 2Department of Civil Engineering, Construction Management, and Environmental Engineering, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
  • 3Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA
  • 4Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
  • 5Pacific Northwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
  • 6Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, LSCE, Gif sur Yvette, France
  • 7Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA
  • 8International Center for Climate and Global Change Research School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn 36849, AL, USA
  • 9Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA

Abstract. Significant changes in the water cycle are expected under current global environmental change. Robust assessment of these changes at global scales is confounded by shortcomings in the observed record. Modeled assessments yield conflicting results which are linked to differences in model structure and simulation protocol. Here we compare simulated runoff from six terrestrial biosphere models (TBMs), five reanalysis products, and one gridded surface station product with observations from a network of stream gauges in the contiguous United States (CONUS) from 2001 to 2005. We evaluate the consistency of simulated runoff with stream gauge data at the CONUS and water resource region scale, as well as examining similarity across TBMs and reanalysis products at the grid cell scale. Mean runoff across all simulated products and regions varies widely (range: 71–356 mm yr-1) relative to observed continental-scale runoff (209 mm yr-1). Across all 12 products only two are within 10% of the observed value and only four exhibit Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency values in excess of 0.8. Region-level mismatch exhibits a weak pattern of overestimation in western and underestimation in eastern regions; although two products are systematically biased across all regions. In contrast, bias in a temporal sense, within region by water year, is highly consistent. Although gridded composite TBM and reanalysis runoff show some regional similarities for 2001–2005 with CONUS means, individual product values are highly variable. To further constrain simulated runoff and to link model-observation mismatch to model structural characteristics would require watershed-level simulation studies coupled with river routing schemes, standardized forcing data, and explicit consideration of water cycle management.

C. R. Schwalm et al.
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Interactive discussion
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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C. R. Schwalm et al.
C. R. Schwalm et al.
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