NOAA Developing New Weather Forecasting Model

The agency has selected a new dynamic core, which is the "engine" of a numerical weather prediction model. It will be used as a basis for all U.S. weather forecasts.

NOAA announced July 27 that it has taken a significant step toward building the world's best global weather model by selecting a new dynamic core, the engine of a numerical weather prediction model, and now will begin developing a state-of-the-art global weather forecasting model to replace the U.S. Global Forecast System.

While the new global model will continue to be called the GFS and run in the background of NOAA's suite of weather and climate models, the new core brings a new level of accuracy, according to NOAA.

"Using our powerful supercomputers, our new dynamic core which drives the model, and the newest modeling techniques, we are poised to develop and run a more accurate and reliable global model that is used as a basis for all weather forecasts in the U.S.," said Louis W. Uccellini, director of NOAA's National Weather Service.

The new core, Finite-Volume on a Cubed-Sphere (FV3), was developed by NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J. It enables the model to provide localized forecasts for several weather events simultaneously while generating a global forecast every six hours.

Goals for the new model are:

  • a unified system to improve forecast accuracy beyond 8-10 days
  • better model forecasts of hurricanes' track and intensity
  • the extension of weather forecasting through 14 days and for extreme events, three to four weeks in advance

The agency reported that it plans to develop a program to involve researchers in testing and improving algorithms, data assimilation methods, and physics and then incorporate successful enhancements into operations. "We are collaborating with the best model developers in the U.S. and around the world to ensure the GFS has the most recent advances in weather prediction modeling, and so we can accelerate improvements to the model as they are developed," Uccellini said.

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