An Assessment of WRF Model Forecast Skill for the White Mountains of New Hampshire

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Sunday, 2 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Matthew D. Cann, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH; and E. P. Kelsey

The forecast skill of the WRF model was evaluated across the complex terrain of the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. The WRF model was initialized with 0.5-by-.05 degree operational GFS analyses and used GFS analyses for the lateral boundary conditions every 6 hours. Three-day forecasts of standard meteorological variables were produced for four unique weather patterns during 2012: blizzard conditions, a heavy rain event, a record breaking heat wave and a thunderstorm event. Forecast skill was assessed for temperature, humidity, sea level pressure, precipitation, and wind speed and direction at 25 sites. These sites include Mount Washington Observatory's Mesonet, ASOS/AWOS sites, and roadside weather stations run by Plymouth State University and New Hampshire DOT. The 25 sites are well-distributed horizontally and vertically (155-1920 m asl), providing an ample representation of weather conditions across the White Mountains. The forecast skill was evaluated at each site as a function of elevation, slope, aspect, and other environmental parameters to improve our understanding of WRF forecast strengths and weaknesses in the White Mountain National Forest.