Submitted as: model evaluation paper 26 Aug 2021

Submitted as: model evaluation paper | 26 Aug 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

WRF v.3.9 sensitivity to land surface model and horizontal resolution changes over North America

Almudena García-García1,2, Francisco José Cuesta-Valero1, Hugo Beltrami1, Fidel González-Rouco3, and Elena García-Bustamante4 Almudena García-García et al.
  • 1Climate & Atmospheric Sciences Institute, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 2Department of Remote Sensing, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig, Germany
  • 3Physics of the Earth and Astrophysics Department, IGEO (UCM-CSIC), Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
  • 4Research Center for Energy, Environment and Technology (CIEMAT), Madrid, Spain

Abstract. Understanding the differences between regional simulations of land-atmosphere interactions and near-surface conditions is crucial for a more reliable representation of past and future climate. Here, we explore the effect of changes in the model's horizontal resolution on the simulated energy balance at the surface and near-surface conditions using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. To this aim, an ensemble of twelve simulations using three different horizontal resolutions (25 km, 50 km and 100 km) and four different Land Surface Model (LSM) configurations over North America from 1980 to 2013 is developed. Our results show that finer resolutions lead to higher surface net shortwave radiation and maximum temperatures at mid- and high latitudes. At low latitudes over coastal areas, an increase in resolution leads to lower values of sensible heat flux and higher values of latent heat flux, as well as lower values of surface temperatures and higher values of precipitation and soil moisture in summer. The use of finer resolutions leads then to an increase in summer values of latent heat flux, convective and non-convective precipitation and soil moisture at low latitudes. The effect of the LSM choice is larger than the effect of horizontal resolution on the near-surface temperature conditions. By contrast, the effect of the LSM choice on the simulation of precipitation is weaker than the effect of horizontal resolution, showing larger differences among LSM simulations in summer and over regions with high latent heat flux. Comparison between observations and the simulation of daily maximum and minimum temperatures and accumulated precipitation indicates that the CLM4 LSM yields the lowest biases in maximum and minimum mean temperatures, but the highest biases in extreme temperatures. Increasing horizontal resolution leads to larger biases in accumulated precipitation over all regions particularly in summer. The reasons behind relate the partition between convective and non-convective precipitation, specially noticeable over western US.

Almudena García-García et al.

Status: open (until 03 Nov 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Almudena García-García et al.

Data sets

NCEP North American Regional Reanalysis: NARR NOAA's National Center for Atmospheric Prediction (NCEP)

CRU TS4.03: Climatic Research Unit (CRU) Time-Series (TS) version 4.03 of high-resolution gridded data of month-by-month variation in climate (Jan. 1901- Dec. 2018) CRU at the University of East Anglia

Daymet: Daily Surface Weather Data on a 1-km Grid for North America, Version 3 Thornton, P.E., M.M. Thornton, B.W. Mayer, Y. Wei, R. Devarakonda, R.S. Vose, and R.B. Cook. ORNL DAAC

Model code and software

Code and Data: WRF v.3.9 sensitivity to land surface model and horizontal resolution changes over North America Almudena García-García, Francisco José Cuesta-Valero, Hugo Beltrami, Fidel González-Rouco, and Elena García-Bustamante

Almudena García-García et al.


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Short summary
We study the sensitivity of a regional climate model to resolution and soil scheme changes. Our results show that the use of finer resolutions mainly affects precipitation outputs, particularly in summer due to changes in convective processes. Finer resolutions are associated with larger biases in comparison with observations. Changing the LSM scheme greatly affects the simulation of near-surface temperatures, yielding the lowest biases in mean temperature with the most complex soil scheme.