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Open AccessArticle

Impacts of Green Vegetation Fraction Derivation Methods on Regional Climate Simulations

Departamento de Astrofísica y Ciencias de la Atmósfera, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Departamento de Física, Universidad de Murcia, 30100 Murcia, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(5), 281;
Received: 8 March 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 21 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lower Atmosphere Meteorology)
The representation of vegetation in land surface models (LSM) is crucial for modeling atmospheric processes in regional climate models (RCMs). Vegetation is characterized by the green fractional vegetation cover (FVC) and/or the leaf area index (LAI) that are obtained from nearest difference vegetation index (NDVI) data. Most regional climate models use a constant FVC for each month and grid cell. In this work, three FVC datasets have been constructed using three methods: ZENG, WETZEL and GUTMAN. These datasets have been implemented in a RCM to explore, through sensitivity experiments over the Iberian Peninsula (IP), the effects of the differences among the FVC data-sets on the near surface temperature (T2m). Firstly, we noted that the selection of the NDVI database is of crucial importance, because there are important bias in mean and variability among them. The comparison between the three methods extracted from the same NDVI database, the global inventory modeling and mapping studies (GIMMS), reveals important differences reaching up to 12% in spatial average and and 35% locally. Such differences depend on the FVC magnitude and type of biome. The methods that use the frequency distribution of NDVI (ZENG and GUTMAN) are more similar, and the differences mainly depends on the land type. The comparison of the RCM experiments exhibits a not negligible effect of the FVC uncertainty on the monthly T2m values. Differences of 30% in FVC can produce bias of 1 C in monthly T2m, although they depend on the time of the year. Therefore, the selection of a certain FVC dataset will introduce bias in T2m and will affect the annual cycle. On the other hand, fixing a FVC database, the use of synchronized FVC instead of climatological values produces differences up to 1 C, that will modify the T2m interannual variability. View Full-Text
Keywords: fraction vegetation cover; regional climate model; near surface temperature fraction vegetation cover; regional climate model; near surface temperature
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Jiménez-Gutiérrez, J.M.; Valero, F.; Jerez, S.; Montávez, J.P. Impacts of Green Vegetation Fraction Derivation Methods on Regional Climate Simulations. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 281.

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