Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Rezaul Mahmood (Director), Dr. Josh Durkee, Dr. Xingang Fan, Dr. Stuart Foster

Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science


On January 29-30, 2008 a squall line of thunderstorms moved through the Ohio Valley resulting in four deaths and one injury. Such events highlight the importance of accurate forecasting for public safety. Mesoscale Modeling plays an important role in any forecast of a potential squall line. The focus of this study was to examine the performance of several parameterization scheme combinations in the Weather Research and Forecasting Model version three (WRF) as they related to this event. These examinations included cloud microphysics (WRF Single-Moment 3-class, 6-class, and Goddard), cumulus parameterization (Kain-Fritsch and Bets-Miller-Janjic) and planetary boundary layer schemes (Yonsei-University and Mellor-Yamada-Janjic). A total of 12 WRF simulations were conducted for all potential scheme combinations. Data from the WRF simulations for several locations in south central Kentucky were analyzed and compared using Kentucky Mesonet observations for four locations: Bowling Green, Russellville, Murray and Liberty, KY. A fine model resolution of 1 km was used over these locations. Coarser resolutions of 3 km and 9 km were used on the outer two domains, which encompassed the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. The model simulation performance was assessed using established statistical measures for the above four locations and by visually comparing the North American Regional Reanalysis dataset (NARR) along with modeled simulations. The most satisfactory scheme combination was the WRF Single-Moment 3-class Microphysics scheme, Kain-Fritsch cumulus parameterization scheme and Yonsei University scheme for the planetary boundary layer. The planetary boundary layer schemes were noted to have the greatest influence in determining the most satisfactory model simulations. There was limited influence from different selections of microphysics and cumulus parameterization schemes. The preferred physics parameters from these simulations were then used in six additional simulations to analyze the affect different initialization data sets have with regards to model output. Data sets used in these simulations were the Final Operational Analysis global data, North American Regional Reanalysis (3 and 6 hour) and the North American Mesoscale Model at 1, 3 and 6 hour timesteps, for a total of six simulations. More timesteps or an increase in model resolution did not materially improve the model performance.


Meteorology | Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology

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