||We developed a coupled soil initialization scheme for the Florida State University/Center for Ocean-Atmosphere Prediction Studies (FSU/COAPS) climate model, which is coupled to the Community Land Model version 2. This method indirectly initializes the land surface component of the climate model by assimilating precipitation in the atmospheric component. A continuous assimilation is performed while the land and atmosphere components exchange fluxes, thus keeping the coupled model in a physically consistent state, obviating the need for any correction. Comparison with in situ observations in Illinois and Oklahoma shows very good agreement with the initialized soil moisture profile. A global comparison of the initialized land surface model with the Global Soil Wetness Project 2 multi-model analysis also shows very good agreement. Short-term climate forecasts (2 weeks to 2 months), performed in conjunction with the Global Land Atmosphere Coupling Experiment, Part 2, show that initialized soil moisture conditions improve surface temperature forecasts.