- Years of scientific and technical work have come to fruition with the launch by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) of a significant set of upgrades, dramatically increasing the quality of both its high-resolution and its ensemble forecasts.
The changes nearly halve the distance between global weather prediction points, substantially increasing the effective resolution of the final forecast. As a result, ECMWF’s numerical weather predictions are more accurate than they have ever been before. Europe’s weather can now be predicted with more detail, with greater accuracy, and as a result, up to half a day further ahead.
WMO welcomes the upgrade, which will have global benefits. ECMWF is a Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre for medium range forecasts, and a global producing centre for long-range forecasts.
ECMWF has launched a new model cycle bringing improved global weather forecasts at record-breaking resolution.
The new grid on which the forecasts are run comprises up to 904 million prediction points, three times as many as before.
Together with other upgrades to ECMWF’s Integrated Forecasting System (IFS), the changes mean that Europe’s weather can now be predicted with more detail, with greater accuracy and, as a result, up to half a day further ahead.
The new cycle reduces the horizontal grid spacing for high-resolution forecasts from 16 km to just 9 km.
Ensemble forecasts, which describe the range of possible weather scenarios and the likelihood of their occurrence, usually use twice the grid spacing of high-resolution forecasts. They are now at 18 km up to forecast day 15 and 36 km thereafter.
The vertical grid spacing is unchanged.
The assimilation of weather observations into the forecasting system has also been improved. This enables a better assessment of the current state of the atmosphere used to initialise a forecast.