Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



López-Espinoza, E., Zavala-Hidalgo, J., Mahmood,R., Gómez-Ramos, R. 2020. Assessing the land use and land cover data representation on weather forecast quality: A case study in central Mexico. Atmosphere 11, 1242; doi:10.3390/atmos11111242.



© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license


In atmospheric modeling, an accurate representation of land cover is required because such information impacts water and energy budgets and, consequently, the performance of models in simulating regional climate. This study analyzes the impact of the land cover data on an operational weather forecasting system using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model for central Mexico, with the aim of improving the quality of the operative forecast. Two experiments were conducted using different land cover datasets: a United States Geological Survey (USGS) map and an updated North American Land Change Monitoring System (NALCMS) map. The experiments were conducted as a daily 120 h forecast for each day of January, April, July, and September of 2012, and the near-surface temperature, wind speed, and hourly precipitation were analyzed. Both experiments were compared with observations from meteorological stations. The statistical analysis of this study showed that wind speed and near-surface temperature prediction may be further improved with the updated and more accurate NALCMS dataset, particularly in the forecast covering 48 to 72 h. The Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) of the average wind speed reached a maximum reduction of up to 1.2ms1, whereas for the near-surface temperature there was a reduction of up to 0.6 °C. The RMSE of the average hourly precipitation was very similar between both experiments, however the location of precipitation was modified.