Friday, March 26, 2021

NOAA Upgrades Global Forecast System
Weather Model

NOAA’s Global Forecast System weather model is being enhanced with various features to improve performance, including the forecasting of hurricanes and rain and modeling for snowfall locations, the agency announced March 22.

The system will include the WaveWatchiII global wave model, which would allow NOAA to predict ocean waves as far as 16 days in advance.

In addition, the National Centers for Environmental Prediction production suite will merge atmospheric and wave forecast information for release together. Upgrades also include improving atmospheric physics to expand snow and precipitation forecasting capabilities.

“This substantial upgrade to the GFS, along with ongoing upgrades to our supercomputing capacity, demonstrates our commitment to advancing weather forecasting to fulfill our mission of protecting life and property,” said Louis W. Uccellini, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service.

“Today’s upgrade also establishes a strong foundation for further planned enhancements that will allow for the assimilation of even more data into the model.”

Meanwhile, NOAA is also updating its Global Data Assimilation System, which allows the model to take in more information from geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites, “as well as flight-level wind, temperature and moisture observations from aircraft,” the agency said.

“These upgrades are part of the Next Generation Global Prediction System within the Unified Forecast System framework, which is an ongoing effort to leverage the expertise of the broader weather community and expedite the research to operations pathway,” Vijay Tallapragada, chief of the modeling and data assimilation branch at NOAA’s Environmental Modeling Center, explained. “By coupling the WaveWatchIII and GFS models, we will extend current wave forecasts and integrate wave forecasting into the global model to streamline model products.”