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SeaWind project: Analysing the sensitivity on horizontal and vertical resolution on WRF simulations

The SEAWIND project is part of the Spanish Strategic Action for the
study of climate change impacts on the coast. The goal of this project is
performing a high-resolution (15 km) regional re-forecast coupling the WRF-ARW
v3.1.1 model to NCEP reanalysis1 conditions, focusing on surface wind. Before
the dynamical downscaling, a set of sensitivity tests were performed in order to
obtain the best WRF-ARW configuration. Here are presented the results of a
sensitivity study on the horizontal and vertical resolution of the simulations.
It is well known the positive role of increasing horizontal and vertical
resolutions of the numerical weather simulations. The higher the resolution of
the simulation, the better representation of atmospheric processes. However, it
is not clear if a relation between horizontal and vertical resolution of the
configuration of numerical simulations should be kept. In literature a wide
spectrum of combinations of horizontal and vertical resolutions in the
simulations is found. A series of 3-month length simulations on a Mediterranean
domain with different combinations of horizontal and vertical resolutions were
made. Results were validated to different observed and re-analysed fields in
order to study the degree of improvement of each combination of vertical and
horizontal resolution. The possibility of existence of a power law between
horizontal and vertical resolution was also analysed. Thus, the study attempts
to provide an objective way to determine the appropriate resolution of a
simulation based on meteorological aspects more than on computer limitations or
personal experiences.