DISCUSSION: As we head further into the 21st century, there is no question that day-to-day operational forecasting has underwent tremendous changes to improve daily weather forecasts. However, what many people do not always realize is the reason for why atmospheric and computer science research scientists constantly strive to continually implement stronger and stronger improvements to numerical model forecast techniques and approaches thereof. It is therefore that much more important to understand this issue to have a renewed sense of appreciation for why numerical model improvements are so highly valued by people throughout the global geoscience community.
First off, improvements to numerical models allow atmospheric scientists to conduct increasingly more realistic simulations of the “true” atmosphere as it exists on planet Earth. Having said that, it is CRITICAL to recognize that no single numerical model forecast (e.g., the Global Forecast System (GFS), the North American Model (NAM), the European Model (ECMWF), or the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF)) will NEVER produce a truly perfect simulation of any weather event (past, present, or future). However, such numerical models can lend us insights into understanding how different types of model set-ups and/or formats can give us a better or worse understanding for how and why given weather events may unfold or may have unfolded in the way that they did. Thus, the more and more the global geoscience community continues to work to further improve numerical model accuracy, the farther that current and future research may be able to go (i.e., regarding the development of an even more in-depth understanding of how different aspects of Earth’s atmosphere physically work).
Another major factor which comes along with improving specific components of numerical models is the fact that you can often include more detailed representations of different processes which in many years were very hard to represent in any capacity. Thus, the more and more details of the atmosphere which can be included into a given numerical model’s formatting, the more reliable that a given numerical forecast model can be for forecasters in an operational setting. Hence, the next time you have a random conversation about weather and/or weather forecasting with friends, family, or anyone, the better appreciation you will now have about why improvements to numerical models are so highly valued by the global geoscience community.
Attached above is a link to some of the earlier details released regarding the recent GFS model upgrade which should certainly help to further improve various aspects of global weather forecasting.
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© 2019 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz