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UM Crack Cocaine
One of the items of discussion at yesterday's NCAS advisory group was whether or not NCAS should be working with more than one mesocale model (currently we do, with significant efforts invested in both the Met Office Unified Model and the U.S. WRF model).
The issues on the table included:
Can we support the model users for two models? Answer: yes, because we (NCAS CMS) support the academic Unified Model users, and NCAR support the WRF users, so WRF requires relatively little NCAS support.
Does the use of WRF contribute towards numerical weather prediction (NWP) (as opposed to understanding of weather processes)? Answer: not directly, in the UK! But we're told that because WRF is currently "easier" to use than the UM, it's easier to build a wider community of modellers, who one might then move onto the more complex environment of the Unified Model, and then contribute directly to UK NWP improvements. (And, in any case, the NCAS role in this area is really about "basic underpinning science" not about direct measured improvemetns in NWP, which in the UK is primarily a Met Office issue).
I just couldn't help feeling that WRF was being seen as the entry level drug for the academic UK NWP community to the UM crack-cocaine. But maybe I was just looking for anything to enliven two days of committee meetings ...
How do people decide which model to use? (from "Serendipity" on Monday 20 July, 2009)