Technical challenges and solutions in representing lakes when using WRF in downscaling applications
Abstract. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model is commonly used to make high-resolution future projections of regional climate by downscaling global climate model (GCM) outputs. Because the GCM fields are typically at a much coarser spatial resolution than the target regional downscaled fields, lakes are often poorly resolved in the driving global fields, if they are resolved at all. In such an application, using WRF's default interpolation methods can result in unrealistic lake temperatures and ice cover at inland water points. Prior studies have shown that lake temperatures and ice cover impact the simulation of other surface variables, such as air temperatures and precipitation, two fields that are often used in regional climate applications to understand the impacts of climate change on human health and the environment. Here, alternative methods for setting lake surface variables in WRF for downscaling simulations are presented and contrasted.