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Evaluating Operational Hydrodynamic Models for Real-time Simulation of Evaporation From Large Lakes

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Full Publication Date
March 15, 2019

Methods for simulating evaporative water loss from Earth's large lakes have lagged behind advances in hydrodynamic modeling. Here we explore use of oceanographic models to simulate lake evaporation from a long-term water balance perspective. More specifically, we compare long-term monthly simulations of latent heat flux from two configurations of a current operational hydrodynamic forecasting system (based on the Finite Volume Community Ocean Model, or FVCOM) for the Laurentian Great Lakes. We then compare these simulations to comparable simulations from a legacy conventional lake thermodynamics model, and from a recently developed statistical water balance model. We find that one of the FVCOM configurations that is currently used in operations for short-term hydrodynamic forecast guidance is also suitable for real-time simulation of evaporation from very large lakes. The operational versions of FVCOM should therefore be considered a readily available tool for supporting regional water supply management and, pending further research, extended water supply forecasting.

E. J. Anderson
J. Smith
Research Areas
Water Resources
Framework, Methods & Tools

Latent heat flux, Oceanographic model, FVCOM, Lake evaporation, Water balance

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Full Citation

Gronewold, A. D., Anderson, E. J., & Smith, J. (2019). Evaluating operational hydrodynamic models for real-time simulation of evaporation from large lakes. Geophysical Research Letters, 46, 3263–3269. CSS19-57