Comparison of NLDAS-2 simulated and NASMD observed daily soil moisture. Part I: Comparison and analysis

Youlong Xia, Michael B. Ek, Yihua Wu, Trent Ford, Steven M. Quiring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Soil moisture observations from seven observational networks (spanning portions of seven states) with different biome and climate conditions were used in this study to evaluate multimodel simulated soil moisture products. The four land surface models, including Noah, Mosaic, Sacramento soil moisture accounting (SAC), and the Variable Infiltration Capacity model (VIC), were run within phase 2 of the North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS-2), with a 1/8° spatial resolution and hourly temporal resolution. Hundreds of sites in Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, West Texas, and Utah were used to evaluate simulated soil moisture in the 0-10-, 10-40-, and 40-100-cm soil layers. Soil moisture was spatially averaged in each state to reduce noise. In general, the four models captured broad features (e.g., seasonal variation) of soil moisture variations in all three soil layers in seven states, except for the 10-40-cm soil layer in West Texas and the 40-100-cm soil layer in Alabama, where the anomaly correlations are weak. Overall, Mosaic, SAC, and the ensemble mean have the highest simulation skill and VIC has the lowest simulation skill. The results show that Noah and VIC are wetter than the observations while Mosaic and SAC are drier than the observations, mostly likely because of systematic errors in model evapotranspiration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1962-1980
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Evapotranspiration
  • Hydrometeorology
  • Land surface model
  • Model evaluation/performance
  • Soil moisture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparison of NLDAS-2 simulated and NASMD observed daily soil moisture. Part I: Comparison and analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this