Snow & Ice Forecast – 12/17/15 – GFS vs EURO Forecast Model – Which is Better?

GFS versus European Weather Forecasting Models at predicting Snow and Winter Weather

Rob Guarino with the Weather Pros along with Snow Plow News reports on whether the GFS or European (ECMWF) weather model is the best model for guidance and forecasting. The U.S. has invested almost $24 million in its GFS (Global Forecast System) model, but the question is, will this prove to be a better tool at predicting weather outcomes than the next leading contender, the ECMWF?

What is the European Weather Model?

The European model, from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), is a good model and was started about forty years ago. The ECMWF is supported by 34 countries, almost all of which are in Europe. The European model really received press coverage when it accurately predicted what would happen during hurricane Sandy as well as the more recent Hurricane Joaquin. While the European model quickly became everybody’s darling when it predicted the outcome of these storms more accurately than other models, it was shown not to be bullet proof when it predicted a snow storm hitting the East Coast was about to dump two feet of snow, yet that storm never really materialized.

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What is the GFS Weather Model?

The GFS is a model produced by the US Government’s NCEP (National Centers for Environmental Prediction). While the GFS model has been around for a long time, in January of 2015 it recently received a major overhaul in order to overcome some of its less than stellar predictions it has made over the recent years. The US Government went so far as sending planes designated for serving  as hurricane observation tools into other storms in order to upgrade and asses the new GFS. The initial results showed large improvements over the older version of the model with greater precision both in data gathering and in forecasting areas.

Is the GFS a Good Weather Predictor?

The real question is, was the almost $24 million worth it, or should the US just become a partner with the ECMWF? Will the effects of El Nino and La Nina on weather throw off this new model, or will the US once again show Europe its dominance in almost every facet of life, from movie making (thank you Star Wars) to weather forecasting.

The only way to find out is to watch Rob Guarino as he covers the outcome of the ongoing dual between the GFS and the European models. What happened with the massive Chicago to Detroit storm? Who won the Grand Island, Nebraska, match? What about that storm that went through Minneapolis?  Check out what Rob has to say!

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