01 Jul 2022
01 Jul 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Lightning Assimilation in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model Version 4.1.1: Technique Updates and Assessment of the Applications from Regional to Hemispheric Scales

Daiwen Kang1, Nicholas Heath2,a, Robert Gilliam1, Tanya Spero1, and Jonathan Pleim1 Daiwen Kang et al.
  • 1Center for Environmental Measurement and Modeling, Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711, U.S.A.
  • 2Air Quality and Atmospheric Composition, Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Lexington, MA 02421, U.S.A.
  • acurrently: independent researcher

Abstract. The lightning assimilation (LTA) technique in the Kain-Fritsch convective parameterization in the WRF model has been updated and applied to continental and hemispheric simulations using lightning flash data obtained from the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) and the World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN), respectively. The impact of different values for cumulus parameters associated with the Kain-Fritsch scheme on simulations with and without LTA were evaluated for both the continental and the hemispheric simulations. Comparisons to gauge-based rainfall products and near-surface meteorological observations indicated that the LTA improved the model’s performance for most variables. The simulated precipitation with LTA using WWLLN lightning flashes in the hemispheric applications was significantly improved over the simulations without LTA when compared to precipitation from satellite observations in the Equatorial regions. The simulations without LTA showed significant sensitivity to the cumulus parameters (i.e., user-toggled switches) for monthly precipitation that was as large as 40 % during convective seasons for month-mean daily precipitations. With LTA, the differences in simulated precipitation due to the different cumulus parameters were minimized. The horizontal grid spacing of the modeling domain strongly influenced the LTA technique and the predicted total precipitation, especially in the coarser scales used for the hemispheric simulation. The user-definable cumulus parameters and domain resolution manifested the complexity of convective process modeling both with and without LTA. These results revealed sensitivities to domain resolution, geographic heterogeneity, and the source and quality of the lightning dataset.

Daiwen Kang et al.

Status: open (until 26 Aug 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-348', Lisa Neef, 03 Aug 2022 reply

Daiwen Kang et al.


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Short summary
Lightning assimilation implemented in the WRF model's Kain-Fritsch convective scheme is updated and applied to simulations from regional to hemispheric scales using observed lightning flashes from ground-based lightning detection networks. Different user-toggled options associated with the Kain-Fritsch scheme on simulations with and without lightning assimilation are assessed. The model's performance is improved significantly by lightning assimilation, but it is sensitive to various factors.