Impacts of land cover data quality on regional climate simulations

Elif Sertel, Alan Robock, Cankut Ormeci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


The land surface influences local, regional and global climate across many time scales. Accurate representation of land surfaces is an important factor for climate modelling studies because land surfaces control the partitioning of available energy and water. Here we introduce new, up-to-date and accurate land cover data for the Marmara Region, Turkey derived from Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM+) images into the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. We used several image processing techniques to create accurate land cover data from Landsat sensor images obtained between 2001 and 2005. By comparing the new land cover data with the default WRF land cover data, we found that there are two types of error in WRF land cover data that caused misrepresentation of the study region. WRF uses Global Land Cover Characteristics (GLCC) data created from images acquired during 1992 and 1993 and it does not reflect current land cover. And the GLCC includes misclassifications. As a result of these errors, GLCC data do not represent urban areas in the cities of Istanbul, Izmit and Bursa and there are spectral mixing problems between classes, e.g. croplands, urban areas and forests. We used WRF land cover and our new land cover data to conduct numerical simulations. Using meteorological station data within the study area, we found that simulation with the new land cover dataset produces more accurate temperature simulations for the region, thus demonstrating the importance of accurate land cover data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1942-1953
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Climatology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Nov 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • Climate
  • GLCC
  • Land cover change
  • Landsat ETM
  • WRF modelling system


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