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Impact of vegetation properties on U.S. summer weather prediction

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Systematic biases in U.S. summer integrations with the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA) atmospheric general circulation model (GCM) have been identified and analyzed. Positive surface air temperature biases of 2°-4°K occurred over the central United States. The temperature biases were coincident with the agricultural region of the central United States, where negative precipitation biases also occurred. The biases developed in June and became very significant during July and August. The impact of the crop area vegetation and soil properties on the biases was investigated in a series of numerical experiments. The biases were largely caused by the erroneous prescription of crop vegetation phenology in the surface model of the GCM. The prescribed crop soil properties also contributed to the biases. On the basis of these results the crop model has been improved and the systematic errors in the U.S. summer simulations have been reduced. The numerical experiments also revealed that land surface effects on the atmospheric variables at and near the surface during the North American summer are very pronounced and persistent but are largely limited to the area of the anomalous land surface forcing. In this regard, the midlatitude land surface effects described here are similar to those previously found for tropical regions. Copyright 1996 by the American Geophysical Union.

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