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Weather Models

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Here is the information I was talking about the other day when I said I would post information about weather models. It explains why I use different models.


Global models, while lacking in precision, are best equipped to forecast large-scale features such as mid-latitude storm systems and major heat waves/cold snaps. They’re also the best way to forecast weather patterns more than 3-5 days into the future. Regional models are best used for localized predictions 1-3 days in the future such as tomorrow’s high temperature in your town (vs the next town over which may be influenced by terrain or bodies of water invisible to the global models) or the approximate location of individual storm cells.

Global models

ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts)

Resolution: 14 km
Forecast depth: 10 days
Step: 3 hrs 1-6 days 6 hrs day 7-10
Updates frequency: 4times/day (Pivotal Weather)

GFS (The Global Forecast System)

Resolution: 27 km
Forecast depth: 16 days (Pivotal Weather)
Step: 3 hrs  days 1-10 days 6 hrs 11- 16
Updates frequency: 4 times/day 

UKMET (United Kingdom Met Office)

Resolution: 10 km
Forecast depth: 6 days
Step: 6 days
Updates frequency: 2 times a day (Pivotal Weather)

Regional models

NAM (North Amercan Mesoscale)

Resolution: 12 km
Forecast depth: 3 days
Updates frequency: 4 times/day (Pivotal Weather)

NAM 3km 

Resolution: 3 km
Forecast depth: 2.5 days

HRRR (High-Resolution Rapid Refresh)
Resolution: 3 km

The HRRR is a real-time regional (USA) atmospheric model that is updated every hour. It is a cloud-resolving, convection-allowing atmospheric model, initialized by 3 km grids with a 3 km radar assimilation.

RDPS (Regional Deterministic Prediction System

Resolution: 10 km
Forecast depth: 3 days
Updates frequency: 4 times/day (Pivotal Weather)

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