As the Northeast digs out from this week’s blizzard, a new NOAA-led effort to improve the forecasting of such high impact weather events is reaching an important early benchmark. One of the first major improvements – upgrading the resolution of three global forecast models — has already shown its effectiveness. One of these models, the newly upgraded Global Forecast System (GFS) model, provided one of the most precise forecasts of the track, intensity, precipitation, and distribution of the Nor’easter.
The Office of Weather and Air Quality (OWAQ) supports research conducted by NOAA scientists and partners that focuses on high-impact weather and air quality events including: hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, heavy precipitation, air pollution, and the social science behind how the public processes weather forecast information and products. OWAQ uses its hallmark US Weather Research Program (USWRP) to fund research for the purposes of improving the understanding of high-impact weather events, sharpening the capabilities of numerical weather and air quality forecast models, bettering the understanding of atmospheric processes associated with high-impact weather and air quality events, and enhancing forecasting and analysis techniques for more accurate forecasts. The ultimate goal is to transition this valuable research into NOAA operations to help save lives and reduce property damage.