Carlos Mondejar-Igualada

Master's candidate at Saint Francis Xavier University

Supervisors: Dr. Hugo Beltrami & Dr. Lisa Kellman
Enrolled in CREATE program in October 2015

Regional Climate Models (RCMs): Exploring Shallow Subsurface Thermal Processes.

Reconciling the ground heat flux and temperature histories from geothermal data with model simulations, as well as with meteorological and proxy records, requires also the clarification of the heat transfer regime at the air/ground interface. For example, what is the relation between air and soil temperatures at high and low frequencies, if the regime is not purely conductive? Does advection heat transfer dominate over conduction? What are the subsurface thermo-dynamical effects of surface conditions changes, slope orientation, vegetation cover, land use, including deforestation, soil moisture and ice content? Each of these factors constitute a difficult problem because of the complexity of the interacting processes involved, and the spatial and temporal scales at which these processes operate and become important for the subsurface thermal field. Due to the coarse resolution of GCMS, exploring spatial-scale dependency and long-term effects of thermodynamically relevant processes in the shallow subsurface is not possible with these models. However, RCMs can be operated at various scales, and for long-term simulations with acceptable computational costs. In this theme, I will use the RCM Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) to try to address the above questions through modeling experiments for decadal and century-scale experiments using ERA40 atmospheric reanalysis from the ECMWF and post-industrial simulations from GCM as boundary conditions. Longer time-scale experiments will use millennia scale simulations such as ECHO-G, as well as newer simulations from CMIP5 as boundary conditions. Techniques of combined data assimilation and parameter estimation can be used to improve exiting parameterization in current land surface model components, based on combined atmospheric and subsurface observations. As this work is extremely computer-intensive, I will use Dr. Beltrami’s new CFI high performance computer cluster for high-intensity simulations, managed by ACEnet.