The evolution of coefficient of friction and removal rate during 8.5 hours of tungsten chemical mechanical planarization is correlated to pad surface topography via a novel pad surface descriptor termed 'abruptness'. Interferometric analysis results indicate that during the first 2.5 hours of polishing, pad abruptness remains stable. After 5.5 hours, pad abruptness decreases (i.e. surface becomes smoother). Results from polishing show similar trends whereby removal rate and coefficient of friction are stable during the first 2.5 hours period and decrease significantly thereafter. The coefficient of correlation between pad abruptness and coefficient of friction as well as pad abruptness and removal rate are 0.98 and 0.77, respectively.