Friday, February 21, 2020

NWS Takes a Half-Step Toward Better Atmospheric Modeling

Sunday, I wrote about issues facing the National Weather Service pertaining to its computer modeling

Today, the NWS announced it is going to triple its computing capability. However, that increase is less than a third of what has been recommended.

But, my concern is they have the cart before the horse. Before buying new computer power, however welcome that is, they should have decided what is the future of their modeling program. In other words, what type of models do they wish to run?  That is still very much up in the air.

NOAA's modeling has two other major issues:
  • The headquarters models treat atmospheric modeling primarily as a physics challenge rather than as furnishing great guidance to the forecasting community. Their recent switch to the FV3 was not an guidance improvement but the modelers thought it was a more modern model. Poor reasoning. 
  • The speed of the models count. There are demands on mesoscale modeling to handle tornadoes, flash floods, ice storms, etc. There are rumors (I emphasize rumors) that one of the new models is great but takes twice as long to run. The forecaster community must be included in these decisions. Model resolution must be balanced against speed. 
Still, it is nice to have two postings in a row that point to improvements in the National Weather Service. 

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