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ECMWF’s next model upgrade to provide better initial conditions for weather forecasts

Posted 6th May 2023

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Cycle 48r1 of ECMWF’s Integrated Forecasting System (IFS), which is to become operational this summer, will include extensive changes to the way the initial conditions of weather forecasts are established.

The new cycle will make better ’all-surface’ use of satellite microwave observations. The data obtained will be added to the many weather observations that help us to establish the initial conditions of weather forecasts through data assimilation. The upgrade represents a significant improvement in the use of satellite observations at ECMWF.

Other changes to the data assimilation system to be implemented in Cycle 48r1 include an increase in the resolution of the 4D-Var system used for the atmosphere, and a move to a new software layer called OOPS (Object-Oriented Prediction System).

‘All-surface’ satellite observations

The upgrade targets surface-sensitive microwave channels, for which a lot of data has previously been screened out due to surface types that are hard to simulate.

These surface types include land, snow, sea-ice, and mixtures of all surface types. In some channels, the new developments increase the number of observations being assimilated by around 30%

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