Scheduled Downtime
On Friday 21 April 2023 @ 5pm MT, this website will be down for maintenance and expected to return online the morning of 24 April 2023 at the latest

computing model height/thickness

This post was from a previous version of the WRF&MPAS-A Support Forum. New replies have been disabled and if you have follow up questions related to this post, then please start a new thread from the forum home page.


New member
How do I compute the model vertical layer thickness from the wrf output variables?
I require either the layer full height/model layer thickness parameter
This value can differ because thickness varies at each point due to the model being terrain-following.
(PHB + PH)/g gives geopotential on each model (vertical) level.
Then you will need to find geopotential above and below that to obtain thickness, at each grid point.

Just to note: geopotential and velocity are on full levels. All other variables are on half levels.
Thanks for the reply. I am computing the parameter for each vertical level and I am obtaining values of the order of 10 KM for the first level on land and around 20 KM at level 30 on land. Hope the numbers are realistic, as I am new to this computation.
No, that is way too high to be reasonable. The thickness will certainly vary, and will increase with height for a while, but you shouldn't be seeing anything above 1km per layer. I'm attaching a plot showing what I've calculated for a basic run, over a water location, and then one over higher altitude. I used 45 levels for this run.



  • 45_levels_thickness_land.png
    14.9 KB · Views: 1,235
  • 45_levels_thickness_water.png
    14.1 KB · Views: 1,234
Many thanks for the plot.I was plotting the absolute value and not the actual difference between the layers...!
Problem solved, I hope.