Extreme Precipitation in WRF during the Newcastle East Coast Low of 2007.

Gilmore, J., J.P. Evans, S.C. Sherwood, M. Ekstrom and F. Ji
Theoretical and Applied Climatology, doi: 10.1007/s00704-015-1551-6, 2015.


In the context of regional downscaling, we study the representation of extreme precipitation in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, focusing on a major event that occurred on the 8th of June 2007 along the coast of eastern Australia (abbreviated “Newy”). This was one of the strongest extra-tropical low-pressure systems off eastern Australia in the last 30 years and was one of several storms comprising a test bed for the WRF ensem- ble that underpins the regional climate change projections for eastern Australia (New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory Regional Climate Modelling Project, NARCliM). Newy provides an informative case study for examining pre- cipitation extremes as simulated by WRF set up for regional downscaling. Here, simulations from the NARCliM physics ensemble of Newy available at ∼ 10 km grid spacing are used. Extremes and spatio-temporal characteristics are examined using land-based daily and hourly precipitation totals, with a particular focus on hourly accumulations. Of the different physics schemes assessed, the cumulus and the boundary layer schemes cause the largest differences. Although the Betts-Miller-Janjic cumulus scheme produces better rainfall totals over the entire storm, the Kain-Fritsch cumulus scheme promotes higher and more realistic hourly extreme precipitation totals. Analysis indicates the Kain- Fritsch runs are correlated with larger resolved grid-scale vertical moisture fluxes, which are produced through the influence of parameterized convection on the larger-scale circulation and the subsequent convergence and ascent of moisture. Results show that WRF qualitatively reproduces spatial precipitation patterns during the storm, albeit with some errors in timing. This case study indicates that whilst regional climate simulations of an extreme event such as Newy in WRF may be well represented at daily scales irre- spective of the physics scheme used, the representation at hourly scales is likely to be physics scheme dependent.

Key Figure

Fig. 11. Total precipitation in the interpolation land mask compared withpanel (b) the cumulus scheme boundary layer averages. The run coloursdata is the black curve

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