NOAA weather prediction model goes 4-D

NOAA weather prediction model goes 4-D

Thanks to new supercomputers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has upgraded its Global Forecast System (GFS) to four dimensions, adding data on how weather systems progress over time to the three-dimensional spatial grid.

NOAA’s investments earlier this year in its Luna and Surge supercomputers, advanced modeling capabilities and better earth observing satellites made these upgrades possible, National Weather Service Director Louis Uccellini said.

The upgrade will allow hundreds of thousands more earth observations from satellites and other sources to inform GFS model output, which will deliver a more precise picture of evolving weather situations to forecasters. It can also filter out poor weather data points from  commercial aircrafts and help identify instability in the atmosphere that could lead to storms or tornadoes.

With the upgrade, GFS will deliver a five-day forecast data every hour, instead of every three hours. This will help forecasters predict the start of a storm and monitor it as it progresses.

The upgrade also prepares GFS to use the observations from the Joint Polar Satellite System and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series satellites, which will provide images of weather patterns and severe storms as frequently as every 30 seconds.

NOAA’s GFS weather and climate models are open and available to the public.

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.

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