NOAA to Upgrade its Global Ensemble Forecast System

Improvements to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast system will help meteorologists at the National Weather Service better predict weather, the agency announced Sept 23.

The Global Ensemble Forecast System now has the Finite-Volume Cubed-Sphere (FV3) dynamical core, allowing the National Weather Service to offer “first-ever numerical weather predictions three and four weeks in advance, providing more lead time for decision making than ever before,” according to NOAA.

“This significant upgrade to GEFS – the first of its kind in five years – will improve probabilistic weather model guidance for public safety, quality of life and business decisions that drive U.S. economic growth,” said Neil Jacobs Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator.

Other updates include bolstering GEFS resolution from approximately 33km to 25km and the amount of individual forecasts input into the ensemble from 21 to 31, according to the agency.

“If our upgrade to the Global Forecast System last year was like upgrading the engine in a car, this upgrade to GEFS is like replacing the engines in a fleet of cars,” said Ivanka Stajner, Ph.D., acting director of NOAA’s Environmental Modeling Center. “Each car takes advantage of the power of this new engine, and with slightly different features, they represent the forecast uncertainties more accurately, aiding the forecasters and decision makers with information on a range of possibilities to be considered when issuing the forecasts.”

By Sarah Spangler