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NASA-Unified Weather Research and Forecasting (NU-WRF) model is an observation-driven regional earth system modeling and assimilation system at satellite-resolvable scale. NU-WRF has been developed upon NCAR’s Advanced Research WRF (ARW), and has integrated the following components:



Physics modules: Goddard one-moment bulk microphysics, Goddard shortwave/longwave radiation, GOddard Chemistry Aerosols Radiation Transport model (GOCART), and those physics coupling modules.



Land Information System: GSFC Land Information System (LIS) that includes various land-surface models, physical boundary conditions (land covers, greenness, soil types, etc.), data assimilation, and model evaluations and calibration framework.



Satellite Simulator: The Goddard Satellite Data Simulator Unit (G-SDSU) that predicts various satellite-observable raw-level signals (radiance or backscatter) from the NU-WRF simulations.



Ensemble Data Assimilation: Ensemble Data Assimilation (EDA) system that assimilates cloud-precipitation-affected satellite radiance using ensemble NU-WRF simulations and G-SDSU through Maximum Likelihood Ensemble Filter (MLEF).



Lateral and initial boundary conditions: In addition to the traditional global and regional models (e.g., ERA, NCEP reanalysis), the NU-WRF can be driven by the NASA GEOS-5 global forecasting simulations or the MERRA reanalysis, and the global GOCART simulations for atmospheric aerosols.



Therefore, NU-WRF can be applied to fully coupled aerosol-cloud-precipitation-land simulations and assimilation at the satellite-resolvable scales (1~5km of horizontal grid spacing).


For more information please visit the NASA NU-WRF web site.

Project Information


Title: Advancing coupled land-atmosphere modeling with NASA-Unified WRF via process studies and satellite-scale data assimilation.


Funding Source: NASA Modeling, Analysis, and Prediction (MAP) program (Program Manager: D. Considine)


Principal Investigator: C. Peters-Lidard


Co-Principal Investigators: T. Matsui


Co-Investigators: J. Santanello, Jr., W.-K. Tao, M. Chin, B. Zavodsky, J. Case, J. Geiger, Y. Liu, J.-J. Shi, Z. Tao, B. Zaitchik, S. Zhang, M. Zupanski


Software POC: C. Cruz, B. Van Aartsen



Peters-Lidard, C.D., E. M. Kemp, T. Matsui, J. A. Santanello, Jr., S. V., Kumar, J. P. Jacob, T. Clune, W.-K. Tao, M. Chin, A. Hou, J. L. Case,, D. Kim, K.-M. Kim, W. Lau, Y. Liu, J.-J. Shi, D. Starr, Q. Tan,, Z. Tao, B. F. Zaitchik, B. Zavodsky, S. Q. Zhang, M. Zupanski (2015), Integrated modeling of aerosol, cloud, precipitation and land processes at satellite-resolved scales, Environmental Modelling & Software, 67, 149–159. doi:


Software Release

The release of NU-WRF software is subject to NASA legal review and requires that users sign a Software Usage Agreement. Toshi Matsui and Carlos Cruz are the points of contact for discussing and processing requests for NU-WRF software.

(1) USA Government - Interagency Release

If you are a representative of a USA government agency, and you wish to obtain the NU-WRF source code, please contact us and provide the following information:

  1. The name and division of the government agency
  2. The name of the Recipient of the NU-WRF source code
  3. The Recipient's title/position
  4. The Recipient's address
  5. The Recipient's phone and FAX number
  6. The Recipient's Email address

(2) USA Government - Project Release under a Contract

If you are working under a contract or grant for a USA government agency, and require the NU-WRF source code for the performance of said contract or grant, please contact us and provide a copy of the grant or contract cover page. This should include the following information:

  1. The name and division of the government agency
  2. The name of the Recipient of the NU-WRF source code
  3. The Recipient's title/position
  4. The Recipient's address
  5. The Recipient's phone and FAX number
  6. The Recipient's Email address
  7. The contract or grant number
  8. The name of the Contracting Officer
  9. Contracting Officer's phone number
  10. Contracting Officer's Email address

(3) All Others

If you do not fall under the categories above, but wish to use NU-WRF software, please contact us to discuss possibilities for collaborating. However, we cannot accept all requests due to legal constraints. In addition, correspondence to countries on the designated countries list requires internal NASA review and may be subject to delay.


Computer Requirements. Currently the NU-WRF build system supports the Discover (at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) and Pleiades (at NASA Ames Research Center) Linux supercomputers. Porting the software to other platforms (e.g., AIX, Mac OS X) is achievable but requires low level changes to makefiles and interfaces to several configure scripts. See Appendix A of the NU-WRF User's Guide for guidance.

Forcing Data. Users need to obtain their own forcing data to run NU-WRF. MERRA data are available from the NASA GES. Realtime GEOS-5 data are available from the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office. Conventional forcing data from the NAM, RUC, or GFS models are available from NCEP, NCAR, and/or NCEI.

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