Local 4km WRF Model Back in Service

In 2007 here at the Milwaukee/Sullivan office of the National Weather Service, we began locally running the WRF atmospheric model on a regular basis. WRF is a very advanced model and remains a favorite for both research and operational forecasting applications. At our office it has been used to supplement the model guidance received from the NWS National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) as well as other centers running national- and global-scale forecast models. Our local WRF was especially beneficial in providing guidance for local-scale events and severe weather. The increased resolution of a local model gives it the ability to predict the evolution of these types of events in a way that national or global models cannot.

By January 2012, the original model system in place at our office had become somewhat outdated due to advances in WRF development and changes to the available input data. We stopped running the old system and began working to replace it with one built from the latest and greatest available software. Recently we completed the upgrade, and the local WRF is back up and running!

The specific model configuration did not change very much from the old run. We are using the ARW model core at 4 km resolution. The domain covers nearly all of Wisconsin as well as parts of the surrounding states. The following image shows the domain boundaries in yellow:

[Map of the MKX 4km WRF domain]

We continue to use LAPS "hot start" initial condition fields and NAM boundary conditions. The run provides hourly output for 15 hours from the model's initialization time. A new run kicks off every three hours and takes 2 to 2.5 hours to complete.

Just as before, the output data from our WRF model are sent to the office's AWIPS system for use by our forecasters. They are also processed into graphics for our website using GEMPAK. The graphics are available at this link, or from our homepage by clicking the "Numerical Models" globe icon, and then clicking the "Local WRF Model" link.

We hope you will find our 4 km WRF products useful! We are planning to experiment with WRF in other ways in the coming months, as time and resources permit.




National Weather Service Milwaukee/Sullivan

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