Analysis of near-surface biases in ERA-Interim over the Canadian Prairies

New publication written by Alan K. Betts and Anton C. M. Beljaars. Published in Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems. September 13, 2017.

DOI 10.1002/2017MS001025
We quantify the biases in the diurnal cycle of temperature in ERA-Interim for both warm and cold season using hourly climate station data for four stations in Saskatchewan from 1979 to 2006. The warm season biases increase as opaque cloud cover decreases, and change substantially from April to October. The bias in mean temperature increases almost monotonically from small negative values in April to small positive values in the fall. Under clear skies, the bias in maximum temperature is of the order of −1°C in June and July, and −2°C in spring and fall; while the bias in minimum temperature increases almost monotonically from +1°C in spring to +2.5°C in October. The bias in the diurnal temperature range falls under clear skies from −2.5°C in spring to −5°C in fall. The cold season biases with surface snow have a different structure. The biases in maximum, mean and minimum temperature with a stable BL reach +1°C, +2.6°C and +3°C respectively in January under clear skies. The cold season bias in diurnal range increases from about −1.8°C in the fall to positive values in March. These diurnal biases in 2 m temperature and their seasonal trends are consistent with a high bias in both the diurnal and seasonal amplitude of the model ground heat flux, and a warm season daytime bias resulting from the model fixed leaf area index. Our results can be used as bias corrections in agricultural modeling that use these reanalysis data, and also as a framework for understanding model biases.