Optimal averaging of soil moisture predictions from ensemble land surface model simulations

Crow, W. T.
Su, C. -H.
Ryu, D.
Yılmaz, Mustafa Tuğrul
The correct interpretation of ensemble information obtained from the parallel implementation of multiple land surface models (LSMs) requires information concerning the LSM ensemble's mutual error covariance. Here we propose a technique for obtaining such information using an instrumental variable (IV) regression approach and comparisons against a long-term surface soil moisture data set acquired from satellite remote sensing. Application of the approach to multimodel ensemble soil moisture output from Phase 2 of the North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS-2) and European Space Agency (ESA) Soil Moisture (SM) Essential Climate Variable (ECV) data set allows for the calculation of optimal weighting coefficients for individual members of the NLDAS-2 LSM ensemble and a biased-minimized estimate of uncertainty in a deterministic soil moisture analysis derived via optimal averaging. As such, it provides key information required to accurately condition soil moisture expectations using information gleaned from a multimodel LSM ensemble. However, existing continuity and rescaling concerns surrounding the generation of long-term, satellite-based soil moisture products must likely be resolved before the proposed approach can be applied with full confidence.