loading page

The water balance representation in Urban-PLUMBER land surface models
  • +18
  • Harro Joseph Jongen,
  • Mathew J Lipson,
  • Adriaan J. Teuling,
  • Sue Grimmond,
  • Jong-Jin Baik,
  • Martin John Best,
  • Matthias Demuzere,
  • Krzysztof Fortuniak,
  • Yuqi Huang,
  • Martin G De Kauwe,
  • Ruidong Li,
  • Joe Ramu McNorton,
  • Naika Meili,
  • Keith W Oleson,
  • S.-B Park,
  • Ting Sun,
  • Aristofanis Tsiringakis,
  • Mikhail Varentsov,
  • Chenghao Wang,
  • Zhihua Wang,
  • Gert-Jan Steeneveld
Harro Joseph Jongen
Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Mathew J Lipson
Bureau of Meteorology
Author Profile
Adriaan J. Teuling
Wageningen University & Research
Author Profile
Sue Grimmond
University of Reading
Author Profile
Jong-Jin Baik
Seoul National University
Author Profile
Martin John Best
Met Office
Author Profile
Matthias Demuzere
Ruhr University Bochum (RUB)
Author Profile
Krzysztof Fortuniak
University of Lodz
Author Profile
Yuqi Huang
University of Oklahoma
Author Profile
Martin G De Kauwe
University of New South Wales
Author Profile
Ruidong Li
Tsinghua University
Author Profile
Joe Ramu McNorton
European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts
Author Profile
Naika Meili
Author Profile
Keith W Oleson
Author Profile
S.-B Park
Author Profile
Ting Sun
University College London
Author Profile
Aristofanis Tsiringakis
Wageningen University
Author Profile
Mikhail Varentsov
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Author Profile
Chenghao Wang
University of Oklahoma
Author Profile
Zhihua Wang
Arizona State University
Author Profile
Gert-Jan Steeneveld
Wageningen University
Author Profile


Urban Land Surface Models (ULSMs) simulate energy and water exchanges between the urban surface and atmosphere. When part of numerical weather prediction, ULSMs provide a lower boundary for the atmosphere and improve the applicability of model results in the urban environment compared with non-urban land surface models. However, earlier systematic ULSM comparison projects assessed the energy balance but ignored the water balance which is coupled to the energy balance. Here, we analyze the water balance representation in 19 ULSMs participating in the Urban-PLUMBER project using results for 20 sites spread across a range of climates and urban form characteristics. As observations for most water fluxes are unavailable, we examine the water balance closure, flux timing, and magnitude with a score derived from seven indicators. We find that the water budget is only closed in 57% of the model-site combinations assuming closure when annual total incoming fluxes (precipitation and irrigation) fluxes are within 3% of the outgoing (all other) fluxes. Results show the timing is better captured than magnitude. No ULSM has passed all good water balance indicators for any site. Our results indicate models could be improved by explicitly verifying water balance closure and revising runoff parameterizations. By expanding ULSM evaluation to the water balance and related to latent heat flux performance, we demonstrate the benefits of evaluating processes with direct feedback mechanisms to the processes of interest.
30 Jan 2024Submitted to ESS Open Archive
02 Feb 2024Published in ESS Open Archive