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Precipitation Simulations Using WRF as a Nested Regional Climate Model

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  • 1 School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 2 School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Abstract

This note examines the sensitivity of simulated U.S. warm-season precipitation in the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF), used as a nested regional climate model, to variations in model setup. Numerous options have been tested and a few of the more interesting and unexpected sensitivities are documented here. Specifically, the impacts of changes in convective and land surface parameterizations, nest feedbacks, sea surface temperature, and WRF version on mean precipitation are evaluated in 4-month-long simulations. Running the model over an entire season has brought to light some issues that are not otherwise apparent in shorter, weather forecast–type simulations, emphasizing the need for careful scrutiny of output from any model simulation. After substantial testing, a reasonable model setup was found that produced a definite improvement in the climatological characteristics of precipitation over that from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction–National Center for Atmospheric Research global reanalysis, the dataset used for WRF initial and boundary conditions in this analysis.

Corresponding author address: Melissa S. Bukovsky, School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Norman, OK 73072. Email: bukovsky@ucar.edu

Abstract

This note examines the sensitivity of simulated U.S. warm-season precipitation in the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF), used as a nested regional climate model, to variations in model setup. Numerous options have been tested and a few of the more interesting and unexpected sensitivities are documented here. Specifically, the impacts of changes in convective and land surface parameterizations, nest feedbacks, sea surface temperature, and WRF version on mean precipitation are evaluated in 4-month-long simulations. Running the model over an entire season has brought to light some issues that are not otherwise apparent in shorter, weather forecast–type simulations, emphasizing the need for careful scrutiny of output from any model simulation. After substantial testing, a reasonable model setup was found that produced a definite improvement in the climatological characteristics of precipitation over that from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction–National Center for Atmospheric Research global reanalysis, the dataset used for WRF initial and boundary conditions in this analysis.

Corresponding author address: Melissa S. Bukovsky, School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Norman, OK 73072. Email: bukovsky@ucar.edu

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