The performance of version 4 of the NOAA High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) numerical weather prediction model for near-surface variables, including wind, humidity, temperature, surface latent and sensible fluxes, and longwave and shortwave radiative fluxes, is examined over the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) region. The study evaluated the model’s bias and bias-corrected mean absolute error relative to the observations on different time scales. Forecasts of near-surface geophysical variables at five SGP sites (HRRR at 3-km scale) were found to agree well with observations, but some consistent observation–forecast differences also occurred. Sensible and latent heat fluxes are the most challenging variables to be reproduced. The diurnal cycle is the main temporal scale affecting observation–forecast differences of the near-surface variables, and almost all of the variables showed different biases throughout the diurnal cycle. Results show that the overestimation of downward shortwave and the underestimation of downward longwave radiative flux are the two major biases found in this study. The timing and magnitude of downward longwave flux, wind speed, and sensible and latent heat fluxes are also different with contributions from model representations, data assimilation limitations, and differences in scales between HRRR and SGP sites. The positive bias in downward shortwave and negative bias in longwave radiation suggests that the model is underestimating cloud fraction in the study domain. The study concludes by showing a brief comparison with version 3 of the HRRR and shows that version 4 has better performance in almost all near-surface variables. Significance Statement A correct representation of the near-surface variables is important for numerical weather prediction models. This study investigates the capability of the latest NOAA High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRRv4) model in simulating the near-surface variables by comparing against the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) in situ observations. Among others, we find that the surface heat fluxes, such as sensible and latent heat fluxes, are the most difficult variables to be reproduced. This study also shows that the diurnal cycle has the dominant impact on the model’s performance, which means the majority of the outputted near-surface variables have the strong diurnal cycle in their bias errors.
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