Software Upgrade (After 40 Years) Aims to Improve U.S. Weather Forecasts

by Henry Fountain,  NYT

Aiming to reduce errors like the one it made in 2012, when it wrongly forecast the track of Hurricane Sandy into the New York area, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday introduced a major upgrade to the software at the heart of its weather prediction capability.

Using huge amounts of computing power, the software, known as the Global Forecast System, or G.F.S., models the physics of global weather, taking data from satellites and sensors to produce predictions of conditions in coming hours and days. Meteorologists around the world rely on it for making forecasts.The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has introduced a significant upgrade to the software that guides its weather prediction capability for the first time in four decades.

The Global Forecast System (GFS) software requires huge amounts of computing power to model the physics of global weather. The system uses data from satellites and sensors to predict conditions in coming hours and days. The upgraded system will help improve predictions of severe weather, including winter storms, hurricanes, and other tropical storms. The GFS upgrade has been tested for a year, running models based on data from past warm and cold seasons and comparing the results with what actually happened. Said Brian Gross, director of NOAA’s Environmental Modeling Center, “We are confident the upgrade will provide an overall improvement,” and more accurate forecasts of temperature, rainfall, and snowfall. Full Article

DCL: There’s a lot of complex event processing that goes into analyzing NOA’s incoming data to detect patterns of events that may signify emerging weather problems.  Same technological issues apply to analysis of social media for early warnings of emerging pandemics. Its a wild world out there, and CEP is a basic technology needed to keep us ahead of the game!

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