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Improvements and Lingering Challenges With Modeling Low-level Winds Over Complex Terrain During The Wind Forecast Improvement Project 2


The Rapid Refresh (RAP) and High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) are NOAA real-time operational hourly updating forecast systems run at 13- and 3-km grid spacing, respectively. Both systems use the Advanced Research version of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF-ARW) as the model component of the forecast system. During the second installment of the Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP 2), the RAP/HRRR have been targeted for the improvement of low-level wind forecasts in the complex terrain within the Columbia River Basin (CRB), which requires much finer grid spacing to resolve important terrain peaks in the Cascade Mountains as well as the Columbia River Gorge. Therefore, this project provides a unique opportunity to test and develop the RAP/HRRR physics suite within a very high-resolution nest (?x = 750 m) over the northwestern US. Special effort is made to incorporate scale-aware aspects into the model physical parameterizations to improve RAP/HRRR wind forecasts for any application at any grid spacing. Many wind profiling and scanning instruments have been deployed in the CRB in support the WFIP 2 field project, which spanned 01 October 2015 to 31 March 2017. During the project, several forecast error modes were identified, such as: (1) too-shallow cold pools during the cool season, which can mix-out more frequently than observed and (2) the low wind speed bias in thermal trough-induced gap flows during the warm season. Development has been focused on the column-based turbulent mixing scheme to improve upon these biases, but investigating the effects of horizontal (and 3D) mixing has also helped improve some of the common forecast failure modes. This presentation will highlight the testing and development of various model components, showing the improvements over original versions for temperature and wind profiles. Examples of case studies and retrospective periods will be presented to illustrate the improvements. We will demonstrate that the improvements made in WFIP 2 will be extendable to other regions, complex or flat terrain. Ongoing and future challenges in RAP/HRRR physics development will be touched upon.

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December 01, 2017

This publication was presented at the following:

AGU Fall Meeting - 2017
American Geophysical Union


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