Weather model gets multiagency input

It may take a decade for the new Weather Research and Forecasting system to generate the forecasts that make the evening news, said Steve Lord, director of the Environmental Modeling Center at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction.

Scientists, however, will use WRF within a few years for greater meteorological precision than current models can achieve.

NCEP's parent agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is cooperating with the Air Force, Federal Aviation Administration, National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and the Navy to develop WRF.

The model will aim to show weather patterns with a horizontal resolution of 1 to 10 kilometers, compared with the 5 to 12 kilometers of existing operational models. Meteorologists want greater forecasting detail to improve warnings about small but destructive events such as tornadoes and thunderstorms.

After extensive testing, WRF eventually will replace the mesoscale models that NCEP now uses to generate the nation's daily weather forecasts.

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