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Urban irrigation effects on WRF-UCM summertime forecast skill over the Los Angeles metropolitan area

  • Author(s): Vahmani, P
  • Hogue, TS
  • et al.

Published Web Location

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015JD023239/abstract
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Abstract

© 2015. American Geophysical Union. All rights reserved. In the current study, we explicitly address the impacts of urban irrigation on the local hydrological cycle by integrating a previously developed irrigation scheme within the coupled framework of the Weather Research and Forecasting-Urban Canopy Models (WRF-UCM) over the semiarid Los Angeles metropolitan area. We focus on the impacts of irrigation on the urban water cycle and atmospheric feedback. Our results demonstrate a significant sensitivity of WRF-UCM simulated surface turbulent fluxes to the incorporation of urban irrigation. Introducing anthropogenic moisture, vegetated pixels show a shift in the energy partitioning toward elevated latent heat fluxes. The cooling effects of irrigation on daily peak air temperatures are evident over all three urban types, with the largest influence over low-intensity residential areas (average cooling of 1.64°C). The evaluation of model performance via comparison against CIMIS (California Irrigation Management Information System) evapotranspiration (ET) estimates indicates that WRF-UCM, after adding irrigation, performs reasonably during the course of the month of July, tracking day-to-day variability of ET with notable consistency. In the nonirrigated case, CIMIS-based ET fluctuations are significantly underestimated by the model. Our analysis shows the importance of accurate representation of urban irrigation in modeling studies, especially over water-scarce regions such as the Los Angeles metropolitan area. We also illustrate that the impacts of irrigation on simulated energy and water cycles are more critical for longer-term simulations due to the interactions between irrigation and soil moisture fluctuations.

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