New major evolution of the GFS model

NOAA (¹) annouced on 22 March a major upgrade to its weather forecast model GFS.

For the first time, the Global Forecasting System (GFS), NOAA's flagship weather forecast model (¹) will be coupled to the global wave model Wave Watch III (WW3), produced by the FNMOC (Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center), which will extend the current forecast of waves from 7 to 16 days and improve forecasting of atmospheric-forced ocean waves.


Les modèles GFS (météo) et WW3 (vagues) affichés sur deux écrans synchronisés avec Weather4D.

GFS models (weather) and WW3 (waves) displayed on two screens synchronized with Weather4D.

Coupling the GFS and the wave model will streamline the NCEP production suite (National Centers for Environmental Prediction) by consolidating atmospheric and wave forecast data and distributing them jointly.

GFS resolution will increase by doubling the number of vertical levels, increasing 64 to 127. Improvements in atmospheric physics will also enhance snow and precipitation forecasting capabilities in this latest update..

In addition to GFS upgrades, NOAA simultaneously modernizes the global data assimilation system (GDAS). This effort will allow the model to ingest more data from geostationary and polar orbiting satellites, as well as aerial wind observations, temperature and humidity.

This latest version of the model, called GFSv16, has shown improved forecasting abilities in many areas, in particular the delays in the genesis of hurricanes, forecasting snowfall and forecasting extreme rainfall events.

This announcement marks the first major upgrade to the GFS-FV3 (Finite-Volume Cubed-Sphere) (²) which replaced the spectral dynamic core GFS in June 2019. 

« Today’s upgrade also establishes a strong foundation for further planned enhancements that will allow for the assimilation of even more data into the model. »

said NOAA's National Weather Service's director.

(¹) See Glossary for more details on acronyms and forecasting models.
(²) The model war will take place.