Scholarly Search – Model Madness

In the first edition of Scholarly Search of the Week, I took the time to read the latest magazine edition of Physics Today, a publication of the American Institute of Physics. My focus, as usual when reading this outstanding and informational piece, was an article discussing the differences between the European weather models, and the leading one used from the United States – the Global Forecast System (GFS).

The primary focus of the article talks about how the two leading European models, first the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and secondary to that the U.K. Meteorological Office (UKMet). It is clear based on the evidence presented, and the experience of many well-trained meteorologists, that these models are superior to those coming from the United States. And while all models have their positive moments and their blunders, the record shows that while many may want the United States to lead in model forecasting, Europe is in the best position to do so at this time.

For people like me living in the Northeast, the ECMWF has certainly proven its strength in the last five years, most notably with Hurricanes Sandy and Joaquin. Meanwhile, the GFS, while eventually working to the end result in those hurricane situations, has its benefits particularly with winter storms. In the end, this article presents both sides of the argument well, and is a great opening for further discussion on the role of American meteorological leadership.


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