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WRF model sensitivity to choice of parameterization: a study of the 'York Flood 1999'

Remesan, Renji; Bellerby, Timothy; Holman, Ian; Frostick, Lynne


Renji Remesan

Ian Holman

Lynne Frostick


© 2014, Springer-Verlag Wien. Numerical weather modelling has gained considerable attention in the field of hydrology especially in un-gauged catchments and in conjunction with distributed models. As a consequence, the accuracy with which these models represent precipitation, sub-grid-scale processes and exceptional events has become of considerable concern to the hydrological community. This paper presents sensitivity analyses for the Weather Research Forecast (WRF) model with respect to the choice of physical parameterization schemes (both cumulus parameterisation (CPSs) and microphysics parameterization schemes (MPSs)) used to represent the ‘1999 York Flood’ event, which occurred over North Yorkshire, UK, 1 st –14 th March 1999. The study assessed four CPSs (Kain–Fritsch (KF2), Betts–Miller–Janjic (BMJ), Grell–Devenyi ensemble (GD) and the old Kain–Fritsch (KF1)) and four MPSs (Kessler, Lin et al., WRF single-moment 3-class (WSM3) and WRF single-moment 5-class (WSM5)] with respect to their influence on modelled rainfall. The study suggests that the BMJ scheme may be a better cumulus parameterization choice for the study region, giving a consistently better performance than other three CPSs, though there are suggestions of underestimation. The WSM3 was identified as the best MPSs and a combined WSM3/BMJ model setup produced realistic estimates of precipitation quantities for this exceptional flood event. This study analysed spatial variability in WRF performance through categorical indices, including POD, FBI, FAR and CSI during York Flood 1999 under various model settings. Moreover, the WRF model was good at predicting high-intensity rare events over the Yorkshire region, suggesting it has potential for operational use.


Remesan, R., Bellerby, T., Holman, I., & Frostick, L. (2015). WRF model sensitivity to choice of parameterization: a study of the 'York Flood 1999'. Theoretical and applied climatology, 122(1-2), 229-247.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 16, 2014
Online Publication Date Oct 11, 2014
Publication Date 2015-10
Deposit Date Nov 4, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Theoretical and applied climatology
Print ISSN 0177-798X
Electronic ISSN 1434-4483
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 122
Issue 1-2
Pages 229-247
Keywords Numerical rainfall prediction, WRF, Cumulus parameterization, Microphysics, York floods
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information The final publication is available at Springer via
Contract Date Nov 23, 2017


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