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Climate forcing datasets for agricultural modeling: Merged products for gap-filling and historical climate series estimation

Ruane, Alex C., Goldberg, Richard, Chryssanthacopoulos, James
Agricultural and forest meteorology 2015 v.200 pp. 233-248
atmospheric precipitation, climate, climate change, data collection, models, radiative forcing, relative humidity, remote sensing, solar radiation, temperature
The AgMERRA and AgCFSR climate forcing datasets provide daily, high-resolution, continuous, meteorological series over the 1980–2010 period designed for applications examining the agricultural impacts of climate variability and climate change. These datasets combine daily resolution data from retrospective analyses (the Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, MERRA, and the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis, CFSR) with in situ and remotely-sensed observational datasets for temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation, leading to substantial reductions in bias in comparison to a network of 2324 agricultural-region stations from the Hadley Integrated Surface Dataset (HadISD). Results compare favorably against the original reanalyses as well as the leading climate forcing datasets (Princeton, WFD, WFD-EI, and GRASP), and AgMERRA distinguishes itself with substantially improved representation of daily precipitation distributions and extreme events owing to its use of the MERRA-Land dataset. These datasets also peg relative humidity to the maximum temperature time of day, allowing for more accurate representation of the diurnal cycle of near-surface moisture in agricultural models. AgMERRA and AgCFSR enable a number of ongoing investigations in the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) and related research networks, and may be used to fill gaps in historical observations as well as a basis for the generation of future climate scenarios.