22 Sep 2021

22 Sep 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Assimilation of passive microwave vegetation optical depth in LDAS-Monde: a case study over the continental US

Anthony Mucia1, Bertrand Bonan1, Clément Albergel1,2, Yongjun Zheng1, and Jean-Christophe Calvet1 Anthony Mucia et al.
  • 1CNRM, Université de Toulouse, Météo-France, CNRS, 31057, Toulouse, France
  • 2European Space Agency Climate Office, ECSAT, Harwell Campus, Oxforshire, Didcot OX11 0FD, UK

Abstract. The land data assimilation system, LDAS-Monde, developed by the Research Department of the French Meteorological service (Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques – CNRM) is capable of well representing Land Surface Variables (LSVs) from regional to global scales. It jointly assimilates satellite-derived observations of leaf area index (LAI) and surface soil moisture (SSM) into the Interactions between Soil Biosphere and Atmosphere (ISBA) land surface model (LSM), increasing the accuracy of the model simulations and forecasts of the LSVs. The assimilation of vegetation variables directly impacts RZSM through seven control variables consisting in soil moisture of seven soil layers from the soil surface to 1 m depth. This capability is particularly useful in dry conditions, where SSM and RZSM are decoupled to a large extent. However, this positive impact does not reach its full potential due to the low temporal availability of optical-based LAI observations, at best, every ten days, and can suffer from months of no data over regions and seasons with heavy cloud cover such as winter or monsoon conditions. In that context, this study investigates the assimilation of low frequency passive microwave vegetation optical depth (VOD), available in almost all weather conditions, as a proxy of LAI. The Vegetation Optical Depth Climate Archive (VODCA) dataset provides near-daily observations of vegetation conditions, far more frequently than optical based product such as LAI. This study's goal is to convert the more frequent X-band VOD observations into proxy-LAI observations through linear re-scaling and to assimilate them in place of direct LAI observations. Seven assimilation experiments were run from 2003 to 2018 over the contiguous United States (CONUS), with 1) no assimilation, the assimilation of 2) SSM, 3) LAI, 4) re-scaled VODX, 5) re-scaled VODX only when LAI observations available, 6) LAI + SSM, and 7) re-scaled VODX + SSM. This study analyzes these assimilation experiments by comparing to satellite derived observations and in situ measurements and is focused on the variables of LAI, SSM, gross primary production (GPP), and evapotranspiration (ET). Each experiment is driven by atmospheric forcing reanalysis from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ERA5. Results showed improved representation of GPP and ET by assimilating re-scaled VOD in place of LAI. Additionally, the joint assimilation of vegetation related variables (i.e. LAI or re-scaled VOD) and SSM demonstrates a small improvement in the representation of soil moisture over the assimilation of any dataset by itself.

Anthony Mucia et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2021-248', Anonymous Referee #1, 30 Oct 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2021-248', Anonymous Referee #2, 06 Nov 2021

Anthony Mucia et al.

Data sets

VODCA Moesinger, L., Dorigo, W., de Jeu, R., van der Schalie, R., Scanlon, T., Teubner, I., and Forkel, M.

FLUXCOM Jung, M., Koirala, S., Weber, U., Ichii, K., Gans, F., Camps-Valls, G., Papale, D., Schwalm, C., Tramontana, G., Reichstein, M., Gustau- 720 Camps-Valls, Papale, D., Schwalm, C., Tramontana, G., and Reichstein, M.

Model code and software

SURFEX Masson, V., P. Le Moigne, E. Martin, S. Faroux, A. Alias, R. Alkama, S. Belamari, A. Barbu, A. Boone, F. Bouyssel, P. Brousseau, E. Brun, J.-C. Calvet, D. Carrer, B. Decharme, C. Delire, S. Donier, K. Essaouini, A.-L. Gibelin, H. Giordani, F. Habets, M. Jidane, G. Kerdraon, E. Kourzeneva, M. Lafaysse, S. Lafont, C. Lebeaupin Brossier, A. Lemonsu, J.-F. Mahfouf, P. Marguinaud, M. Mokhtari, S. Morin, G. Pigeon, R. Salgado, Y. Seity, F. Taillefer, G. Tanguy, P. Tulet, B. Vincendon, V. Vionnet, and A. Voldoire

Anthony Mucia et al.


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Short summary
For the first time, microwave vegetation optical depth data are assimilated in a land surface model in order to analyze leaf area index and root-zone soil moisture. The advantage of microwave products is the higher observation frequency. A large variety of independent datasets are used to verify the added value of the assimilation. It is shown that the assimilation is able to improve the representation of soil moisture, vegetation conditions, and terrestrial water and carbon fluxes.