GFS (Global Forecast System) Global Model from the "National Centers for Environmental Prediction" (NCEP)
4 times per day, from 3:30, 09:30, 15:30 and 21:30 UTC
Greenwich Mean Time:
12:00 UTC = 13:00 BST
0.5° x 0.5° for forecast time <= 180 hrs
2.5° x 2.5° for forecast time > 180 hrs
Geopotential in 500 hPa (solid, black lines) and Vorticity advection in 105/(s*6h) (colored lines)
The two types of vorticity advection are positive (PVA) and negative vorticity
The closed circles in the figure show the 500 hPa absolute vorticity
lines, the others the 500 hPa height lines. When an air parcel is moving from
an area higher vorticity to an area lower vorticity this is called: PVA
(red color). The other way around is called: NVA (blue color). PVA is
associated with upper-air divergence, i.e. upward vertical motion. NVA
is associated with down ward vertical motion. Therefore, PVA at 500
hPa is strongest above a surface low, while NVA at 500 hPa is strongest
above a surface high.
In operational meteorology Vorticity advection maps are used to identify areas
with vertical air motion to see where clouds, precipitation or clear conditions
are likely to occur. Keep in mind, however, that PVA is not the same as upward
vertical motion. Here temperature advection is important too.
The Global Forecast System (GFS
) is a global numerical weather prediction computer model run by NOAA. This mathematical model is run four times a day and produces forecasts up to 16 days in advance, but with decreasing spatial and temporal resolution over time it is widely accepted that beyond 7 days the forecast is very general and not very accurate.
The model is run in two parts: the first part has a higher resolution and goes out to 180 hours (7 days) in the future, the second part runs from 180 to 384 hours (16 days) at a lower resolution. The resolution of the model varies in each part of the model: horizontally, it divides the surface of the earth into 35 or 70 kilometre grid squares; vertically, it divides the atmosphere into 64 layers and temporally, it produces a forecast for every 3rd hour for the first 180 hours, after that they are produced for every 12th hour.
Numerical weather prediction uses current weather conditions as input into mathematical models of the atmosphere to predict the weather. Although the first efforts to accomplish this were done in the 1920s, it wasn't until the advent of the computer and computer simulation that it was feasible to do in real-time. Manipulating the huge datasets and performing the complex calculations necessary to do this on a resolution fine enough to make the results useful requires the use of some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. A number of forecast models, both global and regional in scale, are run to help create forecasts for nations worldwide. Use of model ensemble forecasts helps to define the forecast uncertainty and extend weather forecasting farther into the future than would otherwise be possible.
Wikipedia, Numerical weather prediction, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numerical_weather_prediction
(as of Feb. 9, 2010, 20:50 UTC).