NOAA Upgrading Global Forecast System Weather Model

Images depicting climates thunderstorms in the ocean a hurricane a yellow orange sky and a blue sky with puffy white clouds

March 25, 2021

Images depicting climates thunderstorms in the ocean a hurricane a yellow orange sky and a blue sky with puffy white clouds

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is upgrading its Global Forecast System (GFS) weather model to boost weather forecasting capabilities across the United States.

According to NOAA, the upgrades will improve hurricane genesis forecasting, modeling for snowfall location, heavy rainfall forecasts, and overall model performance.

"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," Louis W. Uccellini, director of NOAA's National Weather Service, said in a statement. The upgrade also "establishes a strong foundation for further planned enhancements that will allow for the assimilation of even more data into the model," Mr. Uccellini said.

In addition to upgrading the GFS, NOAA is modernizing its Global Data Assimilation System (GDAS). That effort will allow the model to ingest more data from geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites, as well as flight-level wind, temperature, and moisture observations from aircraft, NOAA said.

NOAA said that testing of the upgraded GFS showed improved forecasting ability in many areas, including hurricane genesis lead times, snowfall forecasting, and the prediction of extreme rainfall events.

March 25, 2021