18 Jan 2024
 | 18 Jan 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

An open source refactoring of the Canadian small lakes model for estimates of evaporation from medium sized reservoirs

M. Graham Clark and Sean K. Carey

Abstract. Eddy covariance (EC) is one of the most effective ways to directly observe evaporation from a lake surface. However, the deployment of EC systems on lakes is costly and technically challenging which engenders a need for accurate modelling of evaporation from reservoirs for effective management. This study aims to 1) refactor the Canadian Small Lakes Model (CSLM) into modern high-level programming languages in open-source repositories and 2) evaluate evaporation estimates from the CSLM using nine years of EC observations of a pit-lake in Northern Alberta. The CSLM is a 1-D physical lake model simulating a mixing layer and arbitrary thick skin layer which interfaces with the atmosphere and includes a module for ice dynamics. It was developed to interface with the Canadian Global Coupled models as part of the surface classification scheme, and thus utilizes widely accessible forcing data. In this study the CSLM evaporation estimates are also compared to a commonly used bulk transfer method of estimating evaporation. In general, the CSLM had smaller open-water season error (RMSE of 0.70 mm day-1) than the bulk transfer method (RMSE of 0.83 mm day-1). However, if EC data is available, further improvement can be gained by using an Artificial Neural Network to adjust the modelled fluxes (RMSE of 0.51 mm day-1). This final step can be very useful for gap-filling missing data from lake observation networks as there has been recent attention on the limited coverage of direct open water evaporation observations in the literature.

M. Graham Clark and Sean K. Carey

Status: open (until 14 Mar 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CEC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3093', Juan Antonio Añel, 26 Jan 2024 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on CEC1', Matthew Graham Clark, 29 Jan 2024 reply
M. Graham Clark and Sean K. Carey
M. Graham Clark and Sean K. Carey


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Short summary
This paper provides validation of the Canadian small lakes model (CSLM) for estimating evaporation rates from reservoirs and a refactoring of the original FORTRAN code into MATLAB and Python, which are now stored in git repositories. Here we provide direct observations of the surface energy exchange obtained with an eddy covariance system to validate the CSLM. There was good agreement between observations and estimations except under specific atmospheric conditions when evaporation is low.