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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 167436, 11 pages
Research Article

Sensitivity Study of Four Land Surface Schemes in the WRF Model

1Departments of Watershed Sciences & Plants, Soils, and Climate, UT 84322-1400 State University, Logan, Utah, USA
2Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Earth Sciences Division, Department of Geography, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
3Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California at Berkeley, Beverley, CA 94720, USA

Received 1 January 2010; Revised 14 April 2010; Accepted 1 May 2010

Academic Editor: Song Y. Hong

Copyright © 2010 Jiming Jin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model version 3.0 developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) includes three land surface schemes: the simple soil thermal diffusion (STD) scheme, the Noah scheme, and the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) scheme. We have recently coupled the sophisticated NCAR Community Land Model version 3 (CLM3) into WRF to better characterize land surface processes. Among these four land surface schemes, the STD scheme is the simplest in both structure and process physics. The Noah and RUC schemes are at the intermediate level of complexity. CLM3 includes the most sophisticated snow, soil, and vegetation physics among these land surface schemes. WRF simulations with all four land surface schemes over the western United States (WUS) were carried out for the 1 October 1995 through 30 September 1996. The results show that land surface processes strongly affect temperature simulations over the (WUS). As compared to observations, WRF-CLM3 with the highest complexity level significantly improves temperature simulations, except for the wintertime maximum temperature. Precipitation is dramatically overestimated by WRF with all four land surface schemes over the (WUS) analyzed in this study and does not show a close relationship with land surface processes.