It’s no surprise that American weather models have struggled in comparison with the European weather model ECMWF. The American large scale model, the GFS, received an update to it’s formulas last year, bringing closer to the caliber of the ECMWF. However, the ECMWF is scheduled for another update in the coming months, which will likely add to the models dominating history.
The United States Air Force used their own model over the past several decades, but is now dropping the usage of it for the U.K. weather model, the UKMET. Is it embarrassing that our Air Force has to use another countries weather model? Absolutely not. This is a classic case of working smarter, not harder. The Air Force will be able to save $1.9 million dollars a year by cutting their weather model out of the picture along with an increase in forecasting accuracy.
The Capital Weather Gang from the Washington Post has a full length article that gives all the details. Here is a quick excerpt from the article.
“The U.K. model selected by the Air Force, known as the Unified Model of the United Kingdom Met Office, is widely respected. The Air Force says it will improve its forecast capabilities and lower its costs. Within a single framework, this model is able to provide both short- and longer-range forecasts over large and small areas — which is not a seamless operation within the current U.S. system.”
I for one am glad to see the Air Force acknowledging a weak spot and taking care of the issue.