Evaluation of surface and upper air fine scale WRF meteorological modeling of the May and June 2010 CalNex period in California
Prognostic meteorological models such as Mesoscale Model (MM5) and Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) are often used to supply inputs for retrospective air quality modeling done to support ozone and PM2.5 emission control demonstrations. In this study, multiple configurations of the WRF model are applied at 4 km grid resolution and compared to routine meteorological measurements and special study measurements taken in California during May-June 2010. One configuration is routinely used by US EPA to generate meteorological inputs for regulatory air quality modeling and another that is used by research scientists for evaluating meteorology and air quality. Mixing layer heights estimated from airborne High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL) measurements of aerosol backscatter are compared with WRF modeled planetary boundary layer (PBL) height estimates. Both WRF configurations generally capture the variability in HSRL mixing height between days, hour-to-hour, and between surface features such as terrain and land-water interfaces. Fractional bias over all flights and both model configurations range from -38% to 32% and fractional error ranges from 22% to 58%. Surface and upper level measurements of temperature, water mixing ratio, and winds are generally well characterized by both WRF model configurations, often more closely matching surface observations than the input analysis data (12-NAM). The WRF model generally captures orographic and mesoscale meteorological features in the central Valley (bifurcation of wind flow from the San Francisco bay into the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys) and Los Angeles air basin (ocean-land flows) during this summer period.