New weather model promises improved short-term forecasts

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The Weather Company, an IBM Business, is unveiling its new high resolution computer model that is able to make global forecasts. The IBM Global High Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting, or GRAF for short, is a first of its kind model on a global scale.

“We’re really interested in protecting people’s lives and property,” said Kevin Petty, Director of Science and Forecast Operations with The Weather Company.

The supercomputer running the model is housed right here at Research Triangle Park.

Petty explained, “we believe that people around the world should have access to high quality data in order to make sure that they can be resilient in the face of challenging weather events.”

The model updates every hour and produces a forecast at 15 minute increments out to 15 hours. The amount of data being processed required a unique public-private partnership with the National Center for Atmospheric Research to make it happen.

“You know, you start being able to warn people that are out on the water, you know, they’re on ships, and then the people along coastal areas. Whereas before, we just couldn’t get that resolution,” explained Petty.

This is just the beginning of what could be a new wave of high resolution model data.

“We will not stop here,” Petty stated. “We’re going to continue to enhance the model – the core of the model, the mathematical equations, how we use those, the data that we bring into the model, and then how do we disseminate that information.”

You will be able to see this computer model in action on-air within our own weathercasts by early 2020.

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