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Performance of weather research and forecasting model with variable horizontal resolution

Kumar, Prashant, Ojha, Satya P., Singh, Randhir, Kishtawal, C. M., Pal, P. K.
Theoretical and applied climatology 2016 v.126 no.3-4 pp. 705-713
models, rain, surface temperature, wind, India
In this paper, Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model is employed with three different horizontal grid spacings (45, 15 and 5 km) to assess the impact of horizontal resolution on short-range weather forecast. Simulations are carried out daily at 0000 UTC over the Indian region during the entire month of July 2011. A rigorous validation is performed against surface observations, radiosonde measurements and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) 3B42 merged rainfall product. Results show that horizontal resolution has a substantial impact on the WRF model forecast, particularly on the near surface temperature, moisture, winds and rainfall forecasts. Relative to 45-km horizontal grid spacing, 24-h forecasts of near surface temperature, moisture and winds are improved by ∼15, 9 and 4 %, respectively, when horizontal grid spacing is reduced to 5 km. Noteworthy improvement is also seen in the 24-h rainfall forecasts of the WRF model as the horizontal grid spacing decreased from 45 to 5 km. Larger improvements are observed over the Western Ghats and northeastern part of India compared to central India, which demonstrate the importance of finer resolution over the mountainous terrain compared to plains.