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Introduction and the problems of weather interpretation

Bengtsson, L. (1978) Introduction and the problems of weather interpretation. In: ECMWF Seminar on the Interpretation and Use of Large Scale Numerical Forecast Products. ECMWF, Reading, UK, pp. 1-16.

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Numerical forecasts of the atmosphere based on the fundamental dynamical and thermodynamical equations have now been carried for almost 30 years. The very first models which were used were drastic simplifications of the governing equations and permitting only the prediction of the geostrophic wind in the middle of the troposphere based on the conservation of absolute vorticity. Since then we have seen a remarkable development in models predicting the large-scale synoptic flow. Verification carried out at NMC Washington indicates an improvement of about 40% in 24h forecasts for the 500mb geopotential since the end of the 1950’s. The most advanced models of today use the equations of motion in their more original form (i.e. primitive equations) which are better suited to predicting the atmosphere at low latitudes as well as small scale systems. The model which we have developed at the Centre, for instance, will be able to predict weather systems from a scale of 500-1000 km and a vertical extension of a few hundred millibars up to global weather systems extending through the whole depth of the atmosphere. With a grid resolution of 1.5 and 15 vertical levels and covering the whole globe it is possible to describe rather accurately the thermodynamical processes associated with cyclone development. It is further possible to incorporate sub-grid-scale processes such as radiation, exchange of sensible heat, release of latent heat etc. in order to predict the development of new weather systems and the decay of old ones. Later in this introduction I will exemplify this by showing some results of forecasts by the Centre’s model.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Environmental Systems Science Centre
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:31957

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