Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1774
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1774
12 Jun 2024
 | 12 Jun 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

A three-part bias correction of simulated European river runoff to force ocean models

Stefan Hagemann, Thao Thi Nguyen, and Ha Thi Minh Ho-Hagemann

Abstract. In ocean or Earth system model applications, the riverine freshwater inflow is an important flux affecting salinity and marine stratification in coastal areas. However, in climate change studies, the river runoff based on climate model output often has large biases on local, regional or even basin-wide scales. If these biases are too large, the ocean model forced by the runoff will drift into a different climate state compared to the observed state, which is particularly relevant for semi-enclosed seas such as the Baltic Sea. In order to meet the requirements for low biases in river runoff, we have developed a three-part bias correction that includes different correction factors for low, medium and high percentile ranges of river runoff over Europe. Here, we present an experimental setup using the Hydrological Discharge (HD) model and its high-resolution (1/12°) grid. First, bias correction factors are derived at the locations of the downstream stations with available daily discharge observations for many European rivers. These factors are then transferred to the respective river mouths and mapped to neighbouring grid boxes belonging to ungauged catchments. The results show that the bias correction generally leads to an improved representation of river runoff. Especially over Northern Europe, where many rivers are regulated, the three-part bias correction provides an advantage compared to a bias correction that only corrects the mean bias of the river runoff. Evaluating two NEMO ocean model simulations in the German Bight indicated that the use of the bias corrected discharges as forcing leads to an improved simulation of sea surface salinity in coastal areas. Although in the present study, the bias correction is tailored to the high-resolution HD model grid over Europe, the methodology is suitable for any high-resolution model region with a sufficiently high coverage of river runoff observations. It is also noted that the methodology is applicable to river runoff based on climate hindcasts as well as on historical climate simulations where the sequence of weather events does not match the actual observed history. Therefore, it may also be applied in climate change simulations.

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Stefan Hagemann, Thao Thi Nguyen, and Ha Thi Minh Ho-Hagemann

Status: open (until 16 Aug 2024)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-1774', Anonymous Referee #1, 17 Jul 2024 reply
Stefan Hagemann, Thao Thi Nguyen, and Ha Thi Minh Ho-Hagemann
Stefan Hagemann, Thao Thi Nguyen, and Ha Thi Minh Ho-Hagemann

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Short summary
We have developed a methodology for the bias correction of simulated river runoff to force ocean models in which low, medium and high discharges are corrected separately at the coast. We show that the bias correction generally leads to an improved representation of river runoff in Europe. The methodology is suitable for model regions with a sufficiently high coverage of discharge observations, and it can be applied to river runoff based on climate hindcasts or climate change simulations.