Optimizing the role and impact of land surface in Environment Canada’s numerical environmental prediction systems
Friday, 23 January
3 to 5 pm
in SS 2125

The importance of land surface in numerical prediction systems for weather and hydrology is increasingly recognized in national forecasting centers. Knowledge of land surface characteristics and processes related to orography, water fractional coverage, land use and cover, urban geometry, and soil texture, has been significantly improved in current numerical forecasting systems. In this presentation, the systems used at Environment Canada to specify these land surface characteristics will be described with some details, together with some of the models that are used to represent land surface processes (soils, vegetation, cities). The process for assimilating surface and space-based observations to initialize land surface variables such as surface temperature, soil moisture, and snow, will be explained. Finally, evidence of the impact, role, and importance of all these components on numerical prediction will be presented.

As a research scientist in the Recherche en prevision numérique (RPN) section of Environment Canada (Montreal) since 1997, Dr. Bélair mainly worked on improving the representation of physical processes in numerical weather prediction systems.  Dr. Bélair was the scientific lead for several major operational implementations at the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC), at local, regional, and global scales.  He was the lead of RPN`s global modeling group from 2001 to 2006, of the land surface modeling and assimilation group between 2006 and 2011, and since then of the land surface, clouds, and precipitation processes group.  He is also member of several international committees and initiatives, including the Science Team of NASA’s Soil Moisture Active and Passive (SMAP) mission, the Working Group on Mesoscale Weather Forecasting of the World Weather Research Program, and the science steering committee of the Forecast and Research:  the Olympic Sochi Testbed (FROST), and of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area Convection Study (TOMACS).

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