Submitted as: model description paper
30 Aug 2021
Submitted as: model description paper | 30 Aug 2021
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

Introducing CRYOWRF v1.0: Multiscale atmospheric flow simulations with advanced snow cover modelling

Varun Sharma1,2,3, Franziska Gerber1,2, and Michael Lehning1,2 Varun Sharma et al.
  • 1School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 2WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Davos, Switzerland
  • 3Sunwell Sàrl, Lausanne, Switzerland

Abstract. Accurately simulating snow-cover dynamics and the snow-atmosphere coupling is of major importance for topics as wide-ranging as water resources, natural hazards and climate change impacts with consequences for sea-level rise. We present a new modelling framework for atmospheric flow simulations for cryospheric regions called CRYOWRF. CRYOWRF couples the state-of-the-art and widely used atmospheric model WRF, with the detailed snow-cover model SNOWPACK. CRYOWRF makes it feasible to simulate dynamics of a large number of snow layers governed by grain-scale prognostic variables with online coupling to the atmosphere for multiscale simulations from the synoptic to the turbulent scales. Additionally, a new blowing snow scheme is introduced in CRYOWRF and is discussed in detail. CRYOWRF's technical design goals and model capabilities are described and performance costs are shown to compare favourably with existing land surface schemes. Three case studies showcasing envisaged use-cases for CRYOWRF for polar ice sheets and alpine snowpacks are provided to equip potential users with templates for their research. Finally, the future road-map for CRYOWRF's development and usage is discussed.

Varun Sharma et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Review of gmd-2021-231', Anonymous Referee #1, 12 Oct 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on gmd-2021-231', Anonymous Referee #2, 08 Nov 2021
  • AC1: 'Response to the two submitted reviews', Varun Sharma, 10 Jul 2022

Varun Sharma et al.

Varun Sharma et al.


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Short summary
Most current generation climate and weather models have a relatively simplistic description of snow and snow-atmosphere interaction. One reason for this is the belief that including an advanced snow model would make the simulations too computationally demanding. In this study, we bring together two state-of-the-art models for atmosphere (WRF) and snow-cover (SNOWPACK) and highlight both the feasibility and necessity of such coupled models to explore under-explored phenomena in the cryosphere.