Monday, October 17, 2016

The need for better Numerical Weather Prediction in the United States

There has been a lot of national attention on the weather community in the last few weeks due to Hurricane Mathew and the strong winds in the Pacific Northwest. Numerical weather prediction, the heart of our nations weather forecasting capabilities, provides invaluable information on weather that may disrupt economics, destroy property, and threaten human life.

There was a neat article on weather forecasting in the New York Times worth reading:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/23/magazine/why-isnt-the-us-better-at-predicting-extreme-weather.html

Cliff Mass has perhaps been the most outspoken individual on our countries forecasting capabilities. In summary, he says we can do much better. And that is something I believe, too. Seems to me we do a great job as it is, but there is a lot of room for improvement.

The evolution of numerical weather prediction, I think, is much like the evolution of Nintendos Super Mario video games.

The game from the 80s was a lot of fun to play. It's was a classic. But today's Mario has evolved into a high-definition character who can move in more ways than just up/down/left/right. I feel Numerical Weather Prediction is evolving in the same way, with increased resolution so that more features can be shown, and there are increasing capabilities in the models being explored. With continued development, our countries forecasting capabilities will turn from a "fun game" into an outstanding weather forecast system.


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