NOAA Deploys New Weather Forecast System

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is now using a new weather forecast computer model to improve predictions of quickly developing severe weather events.

Starting Tuesday, NOAA is using Rapid Refresh, which updates every hour with a new forecast extending out 18 hours for North America. Such forecasts are especially important in aviation, where fast-developing weather conditions can affect safety and efficiency, but they are equally important for severe weather and energy-related forecasting.

The system was developed by NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., and NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Protection in Camp Springs, Md.

“When accurate and timely weather modeling is needed most, the new Rapid Refresh model delivers,” said NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction Director Louis Uccellini, Ph.D. “This new tool ensures that forecasts are the best they can be by using the latest science and computer techniques in an effort to create a more Weather-Ready Nation.”


The new model was tested extensively, running experimentally for 22 months at NOAA’s NCEP, and will replace the older rapidly updated model, Rapid Update Cycle, which was run at similar frequency and resolution for an 18-hour forecast. But in comparisons with the older model, the new Rapid Refresh has proved more skillful.

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