Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model – Calibration and Procedural Requirements Assessment.

The WRF model allows for the prediction of meteorological data and potentially for air quality assessments, the development of down-scaled (temporal and geographically) high-resolution meteorological data sets for locations where no actual observations have been recorded. Currently, for these applications the Air & Noise SL are reliant on The Air Pollution Model (TAPM) which is a prognostic model developed by CSIRO. However the TAPM model is no longer supported (in any real and enthusiastic way by CSIRO) while WRF continues to be updated, revised and improved (by the agencies of NOAA and academic institutions). If we do not upskill as a service line we will miss out on key opportunities. For GHD to remain competitive in the space of air dispersion modelling, we need to be able to transition from the staple TAPM modelling to the latest modelling methods with the WRF model increasingly being the model of choice. WRF is a far more complex model compared to TAPM and therefore a research and development project (R&D) is required to determine the conditions and contingencies for software/hardware, systems and procedures to drive WRF.

Principal investigator

Alyce Sala Tenna
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Area of science

Climate Modelling, Climate Science

Systems used


Applications used

Partner Institution: GHD| Project Code:

The Challenge

One of the R&D objectives will be producing valid and representative meteorological data from WRF simulations. The R&D project will also further build on the technical skills required for staff designated to use WRF within GHD. WRF is driven by complex physical parameter schemes which will require numerous modelling scenarios with varying configurations to produce a representative meteorological dataset.
A benchmark also has to be determined for the execution time required for the WRF procedure to deliver a quality value-added product.

The Solution

• A standardised approach to enable generation of CALMET-ready ‘WRF-tiles’
• A model checklist and guidance notes on how to drive WRF (stage 2)
• Allow the transition away from TAPM
• Enable GHD (including GHD NA) to undertake modelling ourselves so as to produce a value-added product, negating the need to use global
competitors such as Lakes Environmental ™ and Breeze/Trinity Consultants.

The Outcome

The conclusion of the meteorologist is that the GHD WRF model run produces results most similar to those produced by using real surface observations. Lakes WRF also performs well followed by Meteosim WRF and TAPM.