Large-scale snowpack estimation using ensemble data assimilation methodologies, satellite observations and synthetic datasets
This work focuses on a series of studies that contribute to the development and test of advanced large-scale snow data assimilation methodologies. Compared to the existing snow data assimilation methods and strategies, which are limited in the domain size and landscape coverage, the number of satellite sensors, and the accuracy and reliability of the product, the present work covers the continental domain, compares single- and multi-sensor data assimilations, and explores uncertainties in parameter and model structure. In the first study a continental-scale snow water equivalent (SWE) data assimilation experiment is presented, which incorporates Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) snow cover fraction (SCF) data to Community Land Model (CLM) estimates via the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF). The greatest improvements of the EnKF approach are centered in the mountainous West, the northern Great Plains, and the west and east coast regions, with the magnitude of corrections (compared to the use of model only) greater than one standard deviation (calculated from SWE climatology) at given areas. Relatively poor performance of the EnKF, however, is found in the boreal forest region. In the second study, snowpack related parameter and model structure errors were explicitly considered through a group of synthetic EnKF simulations which integrate synthetic datasets with model estimates. The inclusion of a new parameter estimation scheme augments the EnKF performance, for example, increasing the Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency of season-long SWE estimates from 0.22 (without parameter estimation) to 0.96. In this study, the model structure error is found to significantly impact the robustness of parameter estimation. In the third study, a multi-sensor snow data assimilation system over North America was developed and evaluated. It integrates both Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Terrestrial water storage (TWS) and MODIS SCF information into CLM using the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) and smoother (EnKS). This GRACE/MODIS data assimilation run achieves a significantly better performance over the MODIS only run in Saint Lawrence, Fraser, Mackenzie, Churchill & Nelson, and Yukon river basins. These improvements demonstrate the value of integrating complementary information for continental-scale snow estimation.