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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 189406, 4 pages
Research Article

Comparing Surface Height Used in NCAR Climate Model with That Observed by ICEsat: Effects on Skin Temperature Simulation

Department of Meteorology, San Jose State University, CA 95192-0140, USA

Received 29 July 2009; Accepted 25 October 2009

Academic Editor: Klaus Dethloff

Copyright © 2009 Menglin Jin. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper tries to identify one of the reasons for the poor land skin temperature simulated by a climate model over Greenland. It first compares ICEsat surface height measurements over Greenland with those used by the model and reveals that the surface height of Greenland prescribed in the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Climate System Model/Community Land Model version 3 (CCSM/CLM3) differs greatly from the satellite measurements from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) ICEsat at edges and central glacier regions. This deficiency, in part, leads to underestimated skin temperatures at coastal regions—the areas where significant ice sheet melt is observed. Furthermore, sensitivity studies reveal that surface skin temperature simulations of Greenland would be significantly improved if the more accurate surface height is used. The problem of the height used in current global climate model is mainly due to the fact that the model has to use coarse grid size, and within one grid, land surface height has high heterogeneity. How to assign a proper surface height for each model grid and meanwhile adequately present the high heterogeneity of land surface is a great challenge in current model development.