Performance evaluation of the WRF model under different physical schemes for air quality purposes in Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Solange E. Luque
Lluís Fita
Andrea L. Pineda Rojas


This work presents the performance evaluation of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to estimate surface wind speed and direction, air temperature, and water vapor mixing ratio considering 22 configurations at high spatial resolution (1 km) during one week in winter and one week in spring, in order to determine the best-performing schemes for air quality purposes in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Results show that the use of urban schemes mostly affects wind speed and temperature. The single-layer urban canopy model (UCM) coupled with the Boulac planetary boundary layer (PBL) scheme exhibits the best results for wind speed. Wind direction and water vapor mixing ratio are more sensitive to the land surface model scheme, with results slightly improving with the Noah-MP land surface model. Wind speed and direction errors are larger when the former is lower. When removing from the analysis wind speed values below 2.6 m s–1 for the winter week and 3.1 m s–1 for the spring week, the root mean square errors for wind direction decreased between 50 and 72% of the original value, depending on the configuration and week. Overall, under the studied conditions, configurations including Noah-Mp land surface model or the combination of a simple UCM with BouLac PBL are suitable for air quality applications, as they reproduce both temperature and water vapor mixing ratio relatively well, with errors below 10% and Correlation values above 0.7, and are the best performing configurations for wind direction and speed, respectively.


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