Contact: Ann Henderson-Sellers, Andy Pitman and Jan Polcher

PILPS is an element of Global Land Atmosphere System Study (GLASS) under the auspices of GEWEX and the World Climate Research Programme. It has been designed to be an on-going project. Since its establishment in 1992, PILPS has been responsible for a series of complementary experiments, with focuses on identifying parameterization strengths and inadequacies. About 30 landsurface process modelling groups have been participating in PILPS.

PILPS is project designed to improve the parameterization of the continental surface, especially hydrological, energy, momentum and carbon exchanges with the atmosphere. The PILPS science plan incorporates enhanced documentation, comparison, and validation of continental surface parameterization schemes by community participation. Potential participants include code developers, code users, and those who can provide datasets for validation and who have expertise of value in this exercise. PILPS is an important exercise because existing intercomparisons, although piecemeal, demonstrate that there are significant differences in the formulation of individual processes in the available land surface schemes. These differences are comparable to other recognized differences among current global climate models such as cloud and convection parameterizations. It is also clear that too few sensitivity studies have been undertaken with the result that there is not yet enough information to indicate which simplifications or omissions are important for the near-surface continental climate, hydrology and biogeochemistry. PILPS emphasizes sensitivity studies with and intercomparisons of existing land surface codes and the development of areally extensive datasets for their testing and validation.


  • Henderson-Sellers, A., A. J. Pitman, P. K. Love, P. Irannejad, and T. Chen, 1995: The project for Intercomparison of land surface parameterisaton schemes PILPS) Phases 2 and 3. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 76, 489-503.
  • Henderson-Sellers, A, K. McGuffie, and A. J. Pitman, 1996: The Project for Intercomparison of Land-surface Parameterization Schemes (PILPS): 1992 to 1995. Clim. Dyn., 12, 849-859.
  • Pitman, A.J. and A. Henderson-Sellers, 1998: Recent progress and results from the project for the intercomparison of land surface parameterization schemes. J. Hydrol., xx, 128-135.