My graduate advisor, Cliff Mass, provides yet another sobering assessment of U.S. numerical weather prediction in his blog today. Be sure to give it a read. Many of you are well aware that the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) is currently the gold standard for numerical weather prediction. There are a host of reasons for this, but inadequate computer power for operational numerical weather prediction in the U.S. is one of the more significant. Further, while other nations are plowing forward with major computer hardware investments, the U.S. has failed to even purchase a computer with the $25 million that was provided to NOAA by Congress a year and a half ago.
U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction
OK, those images exaggerate the situation, but this is serious business since advances in computer power and modeling capabilities offer significant potential to protect lives and property in the United States. Other countries aren't simply throwing money at the problem for national pride. They recognize the economic advantages of advances in weather forecasting, not to mention better anticipation of a good powder day.