A multiphysical ensemble system of numerical snow modelling
Abstract. Physically based multilayer snowpack models suffer from various modelling errors. To represent these errors, we built the new multiphysical ensemble system ESCROC (Ensemble System Crocus) by implementing new representations of different physical processes in the deterministic coupled multilayer ground/snowpack model SURFEX/ISBA/Crocus. This ensemble was driven and evaluated at Col de Porte (1325 m a.s.l., French alps) over 18 years with a high-quality meteorological and snow data set. A total number of 7776 simulations were evaluated separately, accounting for the uncertainties of evaluation data. The ability of the ensemble to capture the uncertainty associated to modelling errors is assessed for snow depth, snow water equivalent, bulk density, albedo and surface temperature. Different sub-ensembles of the ESCROC system were studied with probabilistic tools to compare their performance. Results show that optimal members of the ESCROC system are able to explain more than half of the total simulation errors. Integrating members with biases exceeding the range corresponding to observational uncertainty is necessary to obtain an optimal dispersion, but this issue can also be a consequence of the fact that meteorological forcing uncertainties were not accounted for. The ESCROC system promises the integration of numerical snow-modelling errors in ensemble forecasting and ensemble assimilation systems in support of avalanche hazard forecasting and other snowpack-modelling applications.
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