Thursday, May 12, 2016

GFS Improvements

Significant upgrades were made by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) to the Global Forecast System (GFS) yesterday.  Perhaps the most significant is a shift from three-dimensional to four-dimensional hybrid ensemble-variational data assimilation.  This, along with other changes to add or improve the assimilation of several satellite and aircraft datasets, should improve the initial analysis.  A complete list of the gory details is available in Technical Implementation Notice 16-11.

In celebration, NOAA issued a slick announcement with some fancy visualization, including the loop below.

The meteorological world is waiting, however, to see if these upgrades make the GFS more competitive relative to the ECMWF Integrated Forecast System (IFS, typically called the ECMWF, EC, or Euro).

In the future, I'm hoping we will see some significant upgrades to the GFS cloud and precipitation parameterization, which clearly has problems over the mountainous western United States.

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