(PM)- After years of development and testing, a new weather model has arrived that will hope to greatly improve forecasts for years to come.
What’s the Difference?
The global forecasting model (GFS) is a weather model run by the US government and has just gotten a major makeover. A new dynamic core has been introduced which will help make forecasts more accurate.
The new model called the FV3 was initially designed to predict long-range weather over the course of decades. However, when the GFS model needed an upgrade, the FV3’s dynamic core came out on top. It used the least amount of computer resources while providing the best forecasts.
The FV3 will come with a high resolution in the 10-16 day forecasts, unlike the old GFS model. The model also proved to be significantly better in predicting Hurricane Florence’s path just this past year.
“Switching out the dynamical core will have significant impact on our ability to make more accurate 1-2 day forecasts and increase the level of accuracy for our 3-7 day forecasts.” said Louis W. Uccellini, Ph.D., director, NOAA’s Nation Weather Service.
Over the course of three summers, winter and hurricane seasons the FV3 proved to be the same or better. “We are confident the upgrade will lead to overall improvement.” said Brian Gross, director of the Weather Services Environmental Modeling Center.
Over 100 scientists and technicians worked over the course of years to perfect and tweak the model output. Due to all of the new data, the model needs a large computing capacity. To compensate, the NOAA upgraded its supercomputers by 50% and added 60% more storage.
What are the Downfalls?
When the FV3 test was launched earlier this year there proved to be a large error. During winter storms, the FV3 had a tendency to make the lower level of the atmosphere much too cold. This resulted in the model predicting way too much snow in places where there likely would not be any to begin with.
This problem was known and resulted in further delays when the model was due to launch months ago. This on top of the government shutdown made it very difficult for tests to be run on how to fix the issue. Hence why what was supposed to be released in winter was pushed back to June 12th.
In testing the FV3 also proved to pick up false hurricane signals. Much like its predecessor, the FV3 would spin up random monstrous hurricanes in the long range, something the NOAA said would be fixed with the new model.
What About other Models?
This upgrade in the US’s model directly competes with the vastly superior ECMWF. Since the launch of both models the ECMWF, developed by the European Union, has outperformed US capabilities in every way.
The ECMWF also just announced a rather large upgrade as well, that will also improve its forecasting.
Although the new FV3 will help the US compete with the Europeans, most agree that the new model will fail to surpass its European counterpart. The NOAA insists that there will be room for the model to grow and improve as the years go on.
The next generation US weather model is here. Overall, everyone benefits from this upgrade. It is highly likely that your forecast will be improved due to it. Meteorologists will have a better picture of where a hurricane will hit or when there will be a tornado outbreak. However, this does not prove to be the end of the line when it comes to upping our forecast ability. The FV3 is just the tip of the iceberg in what should be a win for people everywhere wishing for better and more accurate forecasts.