Assessing Evapotranspiration Estimates from the Global Soil Wetness Project Phase 2 (GSWP-2) Simulations
Author(s)Gao, Xiang; Schlosser, C. Adam
We assess the simulations of global-scale evapotranspiration from the Global Soil Wetness Project Phase 2 (GSWP-2) within a global water-budget framework. The scatter in the GSWP-2 global evapotranspiration estimates from various land surface models can constrain the global, annual water budget fluxes to within ±2.5%, and by using estimates of global precipitation, the residual ocean evaporation estimate falls within the range of other independently derived bulk estimates. However, the GSWP-2 scatter cannot entirely explain the imbalance of the annual fluxes from a modern-era, observationally-based global water budget assessment, and inconsistencies in the magnitude and timing of seasonal variations between the global water budget terms are found. Inter-model inconsistencies in evapotranspiration are largest for high latitude inter-annual variability as well as for inter-seasonal variations in the tropics, and analyses with field-scale data also highlights model disparity at estimating evapotranspiration in high latitude regions. Analyses of the sensitivity simulations that replace uncertain forcings (i.e. radiation, precipitation, and meteorological variables) indicate that global (land) evapotranspiration is slightly more sensitive to precipitation than net radiation perturbations, and the majority of the GSWP-2 models, at a global scale, fall in a marginally moisture-limited evaporative condition. Finally, the range of global evapotranspiration estimates among the models is larger than any bias caused by uncertainties in the GSWP-2 atmospheric forcing, indicating that model structure plays a more important role toward improving global land evaporation estimates (as opposed to improved atmospheric forcing).
Abstract and PDF report are also available on the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change website (http://globalchange.mit.edu/).
MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change
Report no. 179
;Report no. 179