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An Evaluation of Five WRF-ARW Microphysics Schemes Using Synthetic GOES Imagery for an Atmospheric River Event Affecting the California Coast


The main purpose of the present study is to assess the value of synthetic satellite imagery as a tool for model evaluation performance in addition to more traditional approaches. For this purpose, synthetic GOES-10 imagery at 10.7 mm was produced using output from the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF-ARW) numerical model. Use of synthetic imagery is a unique method to indirectly evaluate the performance of various microphysical schemes available within the WRF-ARW. In the present study a simulation of an atmospheric river event that occurred on 30 December, 2005 was used. The simulations were performed using the WRF-ARW numerical model with five different microphysical schemes (Lin, WSM6, Thompson, Schultz, and double-moment Morrison). Synthetic imagery was created and scenes from the simulations were statistically compared with observations from the 10.7 μm band of the GOES-10 imager using a histogram-based technique. The results suggest that synthetic satellite imagery is useful in model performance evaluations as a complementary metric to those used traditionally. For example, accumulated precipitation analyses and other commonly used fields in model evaluations suggested a good agreement among solutions from various microphysical schemes, while the synthetic imagery analysis pointed toward notable differences in simulations of clouds among the microphysical schemes.

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