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May 12, 2016

NOAA’s supercomputers can make hourly weather forecasts

by John_A

NOAA’s US Global Forecast System has gone 4D, thanks to the power of its new supercomputers. The agency has added “time” as a fourth dimension to its weather and climate model, allowing GFS to make hourly forecasts for up to five days out. Before the upgrade, GFS could only deliver forecasts for every three hours, which isn’t exactly bad. But hourly forecasts allow first responders and disaster relief operators to plan their best course of action. Not to mention, people can use that kind of info in their daily lives, say to plan their commutes and avoid being on the road in the middle of a raging hurricane.

NOAA’s National Weather Service director Louis Uccellini explains:

“The GFS is the foundation for all of our weather and climate models, so today’s upgrade will add skill across all NOAA’s forecast mission areas, including hurricanes and other high-impact weather. Current investments in more powerful supercomputers, advanced modeling capabilities, and better earth observing systems are creating more precision in the forecast process and strengthening America’s resiliency to extreme weather, water and climate events.”

The upgraded GFS will be able to use images of weather patterns and storms that will be taken every 30 seconds by a satellite called GOES-R when it launches later this year. It can also predict rainfall in continental US and the intensity of tropical storms better than before. Hopefully, the upgrade makes a big enough bump in overall accuracy, so we can trust the weatherman more.

Source: NOAA

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