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Modeling roundup WRF: More users, more training

Already the world’s most widely used model for weather prediction, WRF shows no signs of slowing down. All told, more than 10,000 people in more than 120 countries are registered to use the model. More than 90% of them are employing the Advanced Research WRF (ARW) system, maintained by NCAR. The annual WRF Users’ Workshop, to be held this year on 23–26 June, draws 250–300 people to Boulder.

In-person training is a valuable way for new users to get a handle on WRF’s complexities. Twice-yearly tutorials in Boulder, which are coordinated by NCAR’s Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division and the Developmental Testbed Center (see related article), each draw 50–70 users. The next tutorial is scheduled for 13–24 July and will include sessions on the WRF model, WRF-Var, WRF-Chem, and the Model Evaluation Toolkit (see related article). The tutorials include lectures, question-and-answer sessions, and lab sessions to provide hands-on experience.

Like WRF itself, the tutorials have spread well beyond North America. The Third East Asia Workshop and Tutorial took place in April at Seoul National University, sponsored by the Korean Global Partnership Program. In September the University of Cambridge will host Europe’s first WRF tutorial, with support from the U.K. National Centre for Atmospheric Science.

“There’s been major demand for tutorials. People keep on asking for more,” says NCAR’s Joseph Klemp, the lead on WRF numerics and software development.  There’s plenty of interest to support additional in-person training, he says. However, he adds, “we’re essentially limited in terms of personnel and the time commitments these tutorials require.” 

For those who can’t make it to a training session, there are ample resources at “We’ve got most of the material we present online, and there are practice exercises one can do,” says Klemp.

Students at the 2007 East Asia WRF tutorial.

Many of the students at the 2007 East Asia WRF tutorial (shown here), held in Seoul, Korea, on 7–8 April stayed on for the WRF workshop that followed over the next three days. (Photo by Bill Kuo.)

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