Statistical Analysis of Atmospheric Forecast Model Accuracy - A Focus on Multiple Atmospheric Variables and Location-Based Analysis

Report No. ARL-TR-6915
Authors: Jeffrey O. Johnson, John W. Raby, and David I. Knapp
Date/Pages: April 2014; 42 pages
Abstract: Atmospheric effects on commercial and military air platforms are of concern and must be considered for flight planning or military mission execution. Atmospheric models exist that can forecast adverse weather, thus mitigating the impacts on operations. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model is a numerical weather prediction system designed for operational forecasting and atmospheric research. This report examined WRF model output and investigated any potential value-added for higher-resolution model grids using statistical methods. As a supplement to a Phase 1 of analyses conducted by the lead author of this report, Phase 2 examines additional atmospheric variables beyond surface temperature and then performs a location-based analysis to assess model performance. The model performs best for surface temperature and upper-level winds. Surface temperature was selected as the primary variable for this study. The analysis separated the observation station data into three categories: Valleys, Plains, and Mountains. Results showed significant improvement of correlation coefficients when compared to the Phase 1 effort, but the higher-resolution 1-km results showed little improvement compared to the lower-resolution 3-km model results, suggesting that examination of more data is in order.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: April 1, 2014