Otkin, JA, Greenwald, TJ (2008). Comparison of WRF model-simulated and MODIS-derived cloud data. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 136(6), 1957-1970.
In this study, the ability of different combinations of bulk cloud microphysics and planetary boundary layer (PBL) parameterization schemes implemented in the Weather Research and Forecasting Model to realistically simulate the wide variety of cloud types associated with an extratropical cyclone is examined. An ensemble of high-resolution model simulations was constructed for this case using four microphysics and two PBL schemes characterized by different levels of complexity. Simulated cloud properties, including cloud optical thickness, cloud water path, cloud-top pressure, and radiative cloud phase, were subsequently compared to cloud data from three Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) overpasses across different portions of the domain. A detailed comparison of the simulated datasets revealed that the PBL and cloud microphysics schemes both exerted a strong influence on the spatial distribution and physical properties of the simulated cloud fields. In particular, the low-level cloud properties were found to be very sensitive to the PBL scheme while the upper-level clouds were sensitive to both the microphysics and PBL schemes. Overall, the simulated cloud properties were broadly similar to the MODIS observations, with the most realistic cloud fields produced by the more sophisticated parameterization schemes.