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PLoS One. 2016 Mar 18;11(3):e0151576. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151576. eCollection 2016.

Land Surface Model and Particle Swarm Optimization Algorithm Based on the Model-Optimization Method for Improving Soil Moisture Simulation in a Semi-Arid Region.

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Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Yunnan University, Kunming, Yunnan Province, China.
College of Atmospheric Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China.


Improving the capability of land-surface process models to simulate soil moisture assists in better understanding the atmosphere-land interaction. In semi-arid regions, due to limited near-surface observational data and large errors in large-scale parameters obtained by the remote sensing method, there exist uncertainties in land surface parameters, which can cause large offsets between the simulated results of land-surface process models and the observational data for the soil moisture. In this study, observational data from the Semi-Arid Climate Observatory and Laboratory (SACOL) station in the semi-arid loess plateau of China were divided into three datasets: summer, autumn, and summer-autumn. By combing the particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithm and the land-surface process model SHAW (Simultaneous Heat and Water), the soil and vegetation parameters that are related to the soil moisture but difficult to obtain by observations are optimized using three datasets. On this basis, the SHAW model was run with the optimized parameters to simulate the characteristics of the land-surface process in the semi-arid loess plateau. Simultaneously, the default SHAW model was run with the same atmospheric forcing as a comparison test. Simulation results revealed the following: parameters optimized by the particle swarm optimization algorithm in all simulation tests improved simulations of the soil moisture and latent heat flux; differences between simulated results and observational data are clearly reduced, but simulation tests involving the adoption of optimized parameters cannot simultaneously improve the simulation results for the net radiation, sensible heat flux, and soil temperature. Optimized soil and vegetation parameters based on different datasets have the same order of magnitude but are not identical; soil parameters only vary to a small degree, but the variation range of vegetation parameters is large.

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