Evaluation of the Weather Research and Forecasting model in the Durance Valley complex terrain during the KASCADE field campaign

P.C. Kalverla, Gert-Jan Duine, G.J. Steeneveld, Thierry Hedde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


In the winter of 2012-2013, the KASCADE observational campaign was
carried out in southeast France in order to characterize the wind and thermodynamic structure of the (stable) planetary boundary layer (PBL). Data were
collected with two micro-meteorological towers, a SODAR, a tethered balloon
and radiosoundings. Here, we use this dataset to evaluate the representation
of the boundary layer in the WRF model. Generally, we find that diurnal
temperature range (DTR) is largely underestimated, there is a strong negative
bias in both longwave radiation components, and evapotranspiration is overestimated. An illustrative case is subjected to a thorough model-physics evaluation. First, five PBL parameterization schemes and two land surface schemes are employed. We find a marginal sensitivity to PBL parameterization, while the sophisticated Noah land-surface model represents the extremes in skin
temperature better than a more simple thermal diffusion scheme. In a second
stage, we performed sensitivity tests regarding land-surface-atmosphere coupling (through parameterization of z0h=z0m), initial soil moisture content and radiation parameterization. Relatively strong surface coupling and low soil
moisture content results in a larger sensible heat flux, deeper PBL and a larger
DTR. However, the larger sensible heat flux is not supported by the observations.
It turns out that for the selected case, a combination of subsidence and
warm air advection is not accurately simulated, but this cannot fully explain
the discrepancies found in the WRF simulations. The results of the sensitivity
analysis reiterate the important role of initial soil moisture values.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-882
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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