A method is presented for development of satellite green vegetation fraction (GVF) time series for use in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The GVF data is in the WRF model used to describe the temporal evolution of many land surface parameters, in addition to the evolution of vegetation. Several high-resolution GVF products, derived from high-quality satellite retrievals from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer images, were produced and their performance was evaluated in long-term WRF simulations. The atmospheric conditions during the 2006 heat wave year over Europe were simulated since significant interannual variability in vegetation seasonality was found. Such interannual variability is expected to increase in the coming decades due to climatic changes. The simulation using a quadratic normalized difference vegetation index to GVF relationship resulted in consistent improvements of modeled temperatures. The model mean temperature cold bias was reduced by 10 % for the whole domain and by 20–45 % in areas affected by the heat wave. The study shows that WRF simulations during heat waves and droughts, when vegetation conditions deviate from the climatology, require concurrent land surface properties in order to produce accurate results.