The Planetary Weather Research and Forecasting (planetWRF) Model
The Planetary Weather Research and Forecasting model (planetWRF) is an open-source general purpose numerical model for planetary atmospheres research. This portal for access to planetWRF is maintained by Ashima Research. The planetary model is based on the terrestrial Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). A paper describing the PlanetWRF model was published late in 2007, and is available here. The planetWRF source code is available here. The planetWRF system is now also the basis of a Data Assimilation system that can be downloaded at marsclimatecenter.com.
WRF is a highly modular and written to take advantage of modern, high-speed, massively parallel computers, such as the NASA Pleiades Supercomputer, but flexible enough to also run on a Mac laptop computer. WRF is used for a variety of applications in research on terrestrial micro- and meso-scale meteorology and in weather forecasting via data assimilation.
Several major modifications of WRF were needed to allow it to run as a global and as a planetary model. All of the global modifications have now been infused back into the terrestrial version of the model (WRFv3.1 and higher) by NCAR.
PlanetWRF has so far been applied to Mars, Titan, and Venus. For Mars, the model has been used to simulate convective structures in the boundary layer on scales down to a few tens of meters, and global scale circulation systems in General Circulation Model (GCM) mode. For Titan, the formation of methane clouds and rain is being studied, as well as the global circulation. Finally for Venus, the mechanisms that maintain the superrotation of the atmosphere were examined.
The model development was primarily supported by the NASA Applied Information Systems Research (AISR) program, with additional funding from the NASA Mars Fundamental Research, Outer Planets Research, and Planetary Atmospheres Research Programs.