I'm looking for a graph of improvements in spatial resolution for any atmospheric model (such as the UK Met Office Unified Model or ECMWF IFS). Ideally it would include a range of historical model versions and perhaps forecasts for future model resolutions.

  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean global atmospheric models for numerical weather prediction? Or climate model configurations? Or limited area configurations? Deterministic or ensemble ensemble setups? $\endgroup$
    – BHF
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 22:37
  • $\begingroup$ Any of those are fine, I just wanted a figure to illustrate the fact that model resolutions have, in general, been increasing over time. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 8:48

1 Answer 1


Europe is looking nicer and nicer every year (source):

Improvements in climate model resolution and process representation over time.

This is a little bit out of date, since AR5 is already out - the dates for the first 4 IPCC reports were:

  • IPCC First Assessment Report, 1990
  • IPCC Second Assessment Report, 1995
  • IPCC Third Assessment Report, 2001
  • IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, 2007
  • IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, 2014

And an updated image for AR5 looks like this (both of these are AR5 model resolutions) (source, p145):

Improvements in modelling resolution in AR5

And that same PDF has another representation of increasing complexity, where cylinder height indicates complexity (source, p144):

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Superb figures, thank you. The fact that they show how small scale steeper slopes are also resolved at higher resolutions was also something that I wanted to illustrate. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 8:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.