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

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García García, Almudena
Cuesta Valero, Francisco José
Beltrami, Hugo
García Bustamante, Elena
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Copernicus Gesellschaft MBH
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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 12 simulations using three different horizontal resolutions (25, 50 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 and 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 this are related to the partition between convective and non-convective precipitation, specially noticeable over western USA.
This research has been supported by the Canadian Network for Research and Innovation in Machining Technology, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (grant no. DG 140576948), the Canada Excellence Research Chairs, Government of Canada (grant no. 230687), and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).
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