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Utilizing SMAP Soil Moisture Data to Improve Irrigation Parameterizations in Land Surface Models
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  • Farshid Felfelani,
  • Yadu Pokhrel,
  • Kaiyu Guan,
  • David Lawrence
Farshid Felfelani
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

Corresponding Author:ffelfelani@yahoo.com

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Yadu Pokhrel
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
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Kaiyu Guan
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA
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David Lawrence
National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
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Irrigation parameterizations in land surface models have been advanced over the past decade, but the newly available data from the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite has seldom been used to improve irrigation modeling. Here, we investigate the potential of assimilating SMAP soil moisture (SM) data into the Community Land Model (CLM) to improve irrigation representation. Simulations are conducted at 3 arc-minute resolution over the highly irrigated region in the central US, fully enclosing the upstream areas of the river basins draining over the High Plains Aquifer (i.e., the Missouri and Arkansas), and Colorado River basins. We test the original CLM4.5 irrigation scheme and two new irrigation parameterizations using SMAP data assimilation by: (1) directly integrating raw SMAP data, and (2) integrating SMAP data using 1-D Kalman Filter (KF) smoother. An a priori scaling approach is also used to account for bias correction of the shortly-recorded SMAP data based on the ground observations, enabling us to use SMAP for out-of-sample tests (i.e., assessment of the new parameterizations during a non-SMAP period). The ground-based SM observations from three monitoring networks, namely Soil Climate Analysis Network (SCAN), US Climate Reference Network (USCRN), and SNOwpack TELemetry (SNOTEL) are employed for bias correcting SMAP data and validating SM simulations. Results show that SMAP data assimilation using 1-D KF significantly improves irrigation simulations. Bias correction of SMAP data further improves results from KF assimilation in some regions. However, the improvements are small compared to those achieved from 1-D KF application alone, indicating the robustness of using SMAP data and KF globally even for the regions where ground-based data are not available for bias correction. The data assimilation also improves the accuracy of the temporal dynamics and vertical profile of simulated SM. These results are expected to provide a basis for improved modeling of irrigation water use and land-atmosphere interactions.