Blue Waters Supercomputing Applications in Climate Modeling with the WRF Model

Morgan Smith and Andrew Mercer

Volume 8, Issue 3 (December 2017), pp. 36–43

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  author={Morgan Smith and Andrew Mercer},
  title={Blue Waters Supercomputing Applications in Climate Modeling with the WRF Model},
  journal={The Journal of Computational Science Education},
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Long-term atmospheric forecasting remains a significant challenge that in the field of operational meteorology. These long-term forecasts are typically completed through the use of climatological variability patterns in the geopotential height fields, known in the field of meteorology as teleconnections. Despite heavy reliance on teleconnections for long-term forecasts, the characterization of these patterns in operational weather models remains inadequate. The purpose of this study is to diagnose the ability of an operational forecast model to render well-known teleconnection patterns. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, a commonly employed regional operational forecast model, was used in the simulation of the major 500 mb Northern Hemisphere midlatitude teleconnection patterns. These patterns were formulated using rotated principal component analysis on the 500 mb geopotential height fields. The resulting simulated teleconnection patterns were directly compared to observed teleconnection fields derived from the National Center for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) reanalysis 500 mb geopotential height database, a commonly utilized observational dataset in climate research. Results were quite poor, as the resulting teleconnection patterns only somewhat resembled those constructed on the observed dataset, suggesting a limited capability of the WRF in resolving the underlying variability structure of the hemispheric midlatitude atmosphere. Additionally, configuring the regional model to complete this simulation was met with a series of computational challenges, some of which were not successfully overcome. These results suggest future needs for improvement of the WRF model in reconstructing teleconnection fields and for use in climate modeling.