U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



Boundary-Layer Meteorol (2011) 138:263–284; DOI 10.1007/s10546-010-9559-z


Accurately representing complex land-surface processes balancing complexity and realism remains one challenge that the weather modeling community is facing nowadays. In this study, a photosynthesis-based Gas-exchange Evapotranspiration Model (GEM) is integrated into the Noah land-surface model replacing the traditional Jarvis scheme for estimating the canopy resistance and transpiration. Using 18-month simulations from the High Resolution Land Data Assimilation System (HRLDAS), the impact of the photosynthesis- based approach on the simulated canopy resistance, surface heat fluxes, soil moisture, and soil temperature over different vegetation types is evaluated using data from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) site, Oklahoma Mesonet, 2002 International H2O Project (IHOP_2002), and three Ameriflux sites. Incorporation of GEM into Noah improves the surface energy fluxes as well as the associated diurnal cycle of soil moisture and soil temperature during both wet and dry periods. An analysis of midday, average canopy resistance shows similar day-to-day trends in the model fields as seen in observed patterns. Bias and standard deviation analyses for soil temperature and surface fluxes show that GEM responds somewhat better than the Jarvis scheme, mainly because the Jarvis approach relies on a parameterized minimum canopy resistance and meteorological variables such as air temperature and incident radiation. The analyses suggest that adding a photosynthesis-based transpiration scheme such as GEM improves the ability of the land-data assimilation system to simulate evaporation and transpiration under a range of soil and vegetation conditions.