NLDAS Concept/Goals

The goal of the North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS) is to construct quality-controlled, and spatially and temporally consistent, land-surface model (LSM) datasets from the best available observations and model output to support modeling activities. Specifically, this system is intended to reduce the errors in the stores of soil moisture and energy which are often present in numerical weather prediction models, and which degrade the accuracy of forecasts. NLDAS is currently running in near real-time on a 1/8th-degree grid over central North America; retrospective NLDAS datasets and simulations also extend back to January 1979. NLDAS constructs a forcing dataset from gauge-based observed precipitation data (temporally disaggregated using Stage II radar data), bias-correcting shortwave radiation, and surface meteorology reanalyses to drive several different LSMs to produce model outputs of surface fluxes, soil moisture, and snow cover.

NLDAS is a collaboration project among several groups: NOAA/NCEP's Environmental Modeling Center (EMC), NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Princeton University, the University of Washington, the NOAA/NWS Office of Hydrological Development (OHD), and the NOAA/NCEP Climate Prediction Center (CPC). NLDAS is a core project with support from the NOAA Climate Program Office's Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) program. Data from the project can be accessed from the NASA Goddard Earth Science Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC) as well as from the NCEP/EMC NLDAS website.

NLDAS Logo