Document Type


Publication Date

September 2019

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Issue Number





WRF, rain shadow, microphysics, California


Atmospheric Sciences | Climate | Meteorology | Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology


Rainfall patterns in the San Francisco Bay Area (SFBA) are highly influenced by local topography. It has been a forecasting challenge for the main US forecast models. This study investigates the ability of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to improve upon forecasts, with particular emphasis on the rain shadow common to the southern end of the SFBA. Three rain events were evaluated: a mid-season atmospheric river (AR) event with copious rains; a typical non-AR frontal passage rain event; and an area-wide rain event in which zero rain was recorded in the southern SFBA. The results show that, with suitable choices of parameterizations, the WRF model with a resolution around 1 km can forecast the observed rainfall patterns with good accuracy, and would be suitable for operational use, especially to water and emergency managers. Additionally, the three synoptic situations were investigated for further insight into the common ingredients for either flooding rains or strong rain shadow events.


This article was published in Atmosphere, volume 10, issue 9, 2019, and can also be found at this link. Authors retain copyright.
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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.