Pinpointing the weather


  • Elaine Friebele


Accurately predicting weather in regions like the west, which have a variety of climates in high mountain, coastal, and desert sites, can be tricky. Now the National Weather Service (NWS) is testing an experimental computer model that will help forecasters predict weather conditions with greater detail. The Eta-10 model allows forecasters in 24 western NWS offices to monitor the development of weather systems at a 10-km resolution.

From data collected daily from weather balloons, Doppler weather radar, automated surface observing systems, and advanced satellites, the model simulates the atmosphere in a three-dimensional grid. Once a day, the experimental model analyzes the high-resolution data and prepares forecasts for 33 hours into the future.