This code has been community reviewed and published in the open access Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS)


Also known as
Model type Modular
Model part of larger framework
Note on status model
Date note status model
Incorporated models or components:
Spatial dimensions 3D
Spatial extent Continental, Global, Landscape-Scale, Regional-Scale, Watershed-Scale
Model domain Climate
One-line model description Weather Research and Forecasting Model
Extended model description The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model is a next-generation mesoscale numerical weather prediction system designed to serve both operational forecasting and atmospheric research needs. It features multiple dynamical cores, a 3-dimensional variational (3DVAR) data assimilation system, and a software architecture allowing for computational parallelism and system extensibility. WRF is suitable for a broad spectrum of applications across scales ranging from meters to thousands of kilometers.
Name Bill Skamarock
Type of contact Project manager
Institute / Organization NCAR
Postal address 1 1850 Table Mesa Dr
Postal address 2
Town / City Boulder
Postal code 80305
State Colorado
Country United States
Email address
Phone (303) 497-1000

Supported platforms
Linux, Mac OS
Other platform Darwin
Programming language

Fortran90, C

Other program language Fortran95, Perl
Code optimized Multiple Processors
Multiple processors implemented
Nr of distributed processors
Nr of shared processors
Start year development 1998
Does model development still take place? Yes
If above answer is no, provide end year model development
Code development status Active
When did you indicate the 'code development status'? 2020
Model availability As code
Source code availability
(Or provide future intension)
Through web repository
Source web address
Source csdms web address
Program license type Other
Program license type other WRF was developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) which is operated by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). NCAR and UCAR make no proprietary claims, either statutory or otherwise, to this version and release of WRF and consider WRF to be in the public domain for use by any person or entity for any purpose without any fee or charge. UCAR requests that any WRF user include this notice on any partial or full copies of WRF. WRF is provided on an "AS IS" basis and any warranties, either express or implied, including but not limited to implied warranties of non-infringement, originality, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, are disclaimed. In no event shall UCAR be liable for any damages, whatsoever, whether direct, indirect, consequential or special, that arise out of or in connection with the access, use or performance of WRF, including infringement actions. WRF® is a registered trademark of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR).
Memory requirements --
Typical run time --

Describe input parameters --
Input format
Other input format
Describe output parameters --
Output format
Other output format
Pre-processing software needed? Yes
Describe pre-processing software The WRF Preprocessing System (WPS) is a set of three programs whose collective role is to prepare input to the real program for real-data simulations. Each of the programs performs one stage of the preparation: geogrid defines model domains and interpolates static geographical data to the grids; ungrib extracts meteorological fields from GRIB-formatted files; and metgrid horizontally interpolates the meteorological fields extracted by ungrib to the model grids defined by geogrid. (See also:
Post-processing software needed? Yes
Describe post-processing software WRF post-processing utilities: NCL, Vis5D, GrADS, RIP4, ARWpost, WPP, VAPOR (See:
Visualization software needed? No
If above answer is yes
Other visualization software

Describe processes represented by the model To simulate real weather and to do simulations with coarse resolutions, a minimum set of physics components is required, namely radiation, boundary layer and land-surface parameterization, convective parameterization, subgrid eddy diffusion, and microphysics. Since the model is developed for both research and operational groups, sophisticated physics schemes and simple physics schemes are needed in the model. The objectives of the WRF physics development are to implement a basic set of physics into the WRF model and to design a user friendly physics interface. Since the WRF model is targeted at resolutions of 1-10 km, some of physics schemes might not work properly in this high resolution (e.g. cumulus parameterization). However, at this early stage of model development, only existing physics schemes are implemented, and most of them are taken from current mesoscale and cloud models. In the future, new physics schemes designed for resolutions of 1-10 km should be developed and implemented. See for more information
Describe key physical parameters and equations The WRF-ARW core is based on an Eulerian solver for the fully compressible nonhydrostatic equations, cast in flux (conservative) form, using a mass (hydrostatic pressure) vertical coordinate. Prognostic variables for this solver are column mass of dry air (mu), velocities u, v and w (vertical velocity), potential temperature, and geopotential. Non-conserved variables (e.g. temperature, pressure, density) are diagnosed from the conserved prognostic variables. The solver uses a third-order Runge-Kutta time-integration scheme coupled with a split-explicit 2nd-order time integration scheme for the acoustic and gravity-wave modes. 5th-order upwind-biased advection operators are used in the fully conservative flux divergence integration; 2nd-6th order schemes are run-time selectable.
Describe length scale and resolution constraints --
Describe time scale and resolution constraints --
Describe any numerical limitations and issues --

Describe available calibration data sets
Upload calibration data sets if available:
Describe available test data sets
Upload test data sets if available:
Describe ideal data for testing

Do you have current or future plans for collaborating with other researchers? The effort to develop WRF has been a collaborative partnership, principally among the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and the Forecast Systems Laboratory (FSL), the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA), the Naval Research Laboratory, the University of Oklahoma, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). WRF allows researchers the ability to conduct simulations reflecting either real data or idealized configurations. WRF provides operational forecasting a model that is flexible and efficient computationally, while offering the advances in physics, numerics, and data assimilation contributed by the research community.
Is there a manual available? Yes
Upload manual if available:
Model website if any,

Model forum / discussion board
Comments WRF has a rapidly growing community of users, and workshops and tutorials are held each year at NCAR. WRF is currently in operational use at NCEP, AFWA and other centers.

Notice: WRF source code is freely available on the following site: So no registration is needed.

This part will be filled out by CSDMS staff

OpenMI compliant No but possible
BMI compliant No but possible
WMT component No but possible
PyMT component
Is this a data component
Can be coupled with:
Model info
Bill Skamarock
Nr. of publications: 1728
Total citations: 120254
h-index: 145
m-quotient: 6.3
Qrcode WRF.png
Link to this page




Nr. of publications: 1728
Total citations: 120254
h-index: 145
m-quotient: 6.3

Featured publication(s)YearModel describedType of ReferenceCitations
Skamarock, William C.; Klemp, Joseph B.; 2008. A time-split nonhydrostatic atmospheric model for weather research and forecasting applications. Journal of Computational Physics, 227, 3465–3485. 10.1016/
(View/edit entry)
2008 WRF
Model overview 1742
Skamarock, W.C.; Klemp, J. B.; Dudhia, J.; Gill, D.O.; Barker, D.M.; Wang, W.; Powers, J.G.; 2005. A description of the Advanced Research WRF Version 2.. NCAR Tech Notes-468+STR..
(View/edit entry)
2005 WRF

Model overview

Skamarock, C.; Klemp, B.; Dudhia, Jimy; Gill, O.; Barker, Dale; Duda, G.; Huang, Xiang-yu; Wang, Wei; Powers, G.; 2008. A Description of the Advanced Research WRF Version 3. , , . 10.5065/D68S4MVH
(View/edit entry)
2008 WRF
Model overview 8967
See more publications of WRF



Input Files

Output Files