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With all the questions we've had through the years that have tied into weather models, plus all the sites around the web providing weather model data, it got me wondering: is there any table that summarizes the basic details of the major weather models? Details like calculation methods, spatial resolution, calculation timestep, vertical grid type, regions covered, parameterizations, run hours (and when the output is typically available), operating organizations, perhaps even some basic skill scores. It would seem such a link would be useful in answering many questions, and be of use to many in trying to better understand how the models work or perform.

I'd think the obvious spot would be Wikipedia, as they seem to have similar collaborative lists for all sorts of useful things, but all I found was the very limited list on the models page. Likewise searched AMS Journals for NWP summary and similar terms to no avail. Does such a resource exist!?!

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  • $\begingroup$ And if not, and you know a few pages with good summary statistics on various models, comment them here towards the development to a rough outline of a Wikipedia page??? Such as this useful though limited page about the GFS $\endgroup$ – JeopardyTempest Sep 27 '17 at 7:23
  • $\begingroup$ Some of the characteristics you mentioned may be configured within the same model, such as time step, horizontal and vertical resolutions, and the parameterizations used - they all can be chosen prior to the model run (at least in the models I have worked with, I believe I can generalize). Your table could list the currently existing models, and examples of configurations already used, but I am afraid this will be a endless list, once new experiments are preformed every day. $\endgroup$ – ouranos Sep 30 '17 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ @ouranos Sorry, I should have better clarified to emphasize I was interested in active operational models. So that's a more limited list, and basically more rigid in details. But randomly just came across a fair list, so I'll be updating with an answer shortly. What models have you worked with, stuff like WRF and MM5 type models? $\endgroup$ – JeopardyTempest Sep 30 '17 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ I work in a team that use these models, but not operationally, just for research. I have very limited experience with models myself. I have personally only ran the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) version 3.1. This model, however, is operationally run (every month) at our lab for global seasonal climate forecasts (ensemble of 5 members), and it is missing in your list ;) Although this is just an academic project, limited by our computational resources. $\endgroup$ – ouranos Oct 1 '17 at 19:47
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MetEd from NCAR has a good encyclopedia of models that summarizes some weather models. Of course, when models update, such as the GFS dynamical core being converted to the FV3, or changes in data assimilation systems, they may not be up-to-date. This also doesn't have ALL weather models, but some of the more common ones.

Of course, there are models missing from the encyclopedia, such as the SREF, GEFS, the JMA model, the Panasonic weather model, any iteration of the WRF model, statistical post-processed models, etc.

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  • $\begingroup$ By the way, if I recall right, it is free to make a MetEd account. $\endgroup$ – BarocliniCplusplus Dec 11 '17 at 17:58
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Happened to come across a very fair list at the National Hurricane Center website giving the details of the models and ensembles they employ operationally. Had seen the basic list of what the models are many other places, basically almost anywhere the A-deck "spaghetti models" are shown... but not giving the details on topics like data assimilation/resolution/ensemble methods/cycles, which much better answer some of my question.

It's not perfect, both because it lacks a few of the requested details, and also because it excludes models like the NAM, HRRR, and FIM that aren't particularly applied in TC situations... but it's far better than anything I've ever come across!


I've also came across a page of some old reports from the WMO that may offer a small bit of insight into what modelss are used around the world, and the WMO main weather page offers links to each country's meteorological office, where such data may well be found. For instance, it appears that Argentina's Servicio Meteorológico Nacional runs an ETA model for their region.

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