NOAA updates GFS global weather model

Weather Prediction Center Meteorologist, Andrew Orrison, uses weather model data. (NOAA)
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By: Charles Roop | WCTV Pinpoint Weather
June 12, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – One large global weather forecast model was given an upgrade Wednesday.

The Global Forecast System, or GFS, model’s core was upgraded to what’s called Finite-Volume Cubed-Sphere. The core has been commonly called FV3. It has been used as a tool for long-range weather and climate prediction, according to a press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But it was decided to be expanded to include in the model physics of the GFS model.

“The significant enhancements to the GFS, along with creating NOAA’s new Earth Prediction Innovation Center, are positioning the U.S. to reclaim international leadership in the global earth-system modeling community,” Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., the acting NOAA administrator, said in the press release.

The agency touts “superior dynamics of global climate modeling with day-to-day reliability and speed of operational numerical weather prediction” that would improve forecast output.

The GFS, among other models, are used by operational meteorologists, including those in the WCTV Pinpoint Weather Team, to help determine a weather forecast.

The model upgrade is likely to take on the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts’ model, or what is known as “the Euro” model. The ECMWF has been touted as the more accurate forecast model.

The initial release was delayed because of the government shutdown, but the March 20 launch didn’t happen because of issues found during testing.

Meteorologists took to social media to explain and comment on the model’s update.

NOAA says the retiring version of the GFS will no longer be used for operation but will run so that users can compare the model's performance through September.