A modeling and verification study of summer precipitation systems using NASA surface initialization datasets
This paper describes a sensitivity experiment using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Interpolated land and ocean surface fields from a large-scale model are replaced with high-resolution datasets provided by unique NASA assets in an experimental simulation: the Land Information System (LIS) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) SSTs. The LIS is run in an offline mode for several years at the same grid resolution as the WRF model to provide compatible land surface initial conditions in an equilibrium state. The MODIS SSTs provide detailed analyses of SSTs over the oceans and large lakes compared to current operational products. The WRF model runs initialized with the LIS+MODIS datasets result in a reduction in the over-prediction of rainfall areas; however, the skill is almost equally as low in both experiments using traditional verification methodologies. Output from object-based verification within NCAR's Meteorological Evaluation Tools reveals that the WRF runs initialized with LIS+MODIS data consistently generated precipitation objects that better matched observed precipitation objects, especially at higher precipitation intensities. The LIS+MODIS runs produced on average a 4% increase in matched precipitation areas and a simultaneous 4% decrease in unmatched areas during three months of daily simulations.