End-to-end Modeling Systems

developing and tailoring modeling systems for international partners optimized for the end-user

As high-resolution regional models (e.g., Weather Research and Forecasting: WRF) become more skillful, and computing hardware becomes less expensive, the use of models for meeting the specialized operational needs of various stakeholders is growing rapidly. While modeling software and hardware are easy to acquire, users are still faced with the following challenges:

  • optimizing the overall system performance to meet specific needs;
  • verifying the model skill on small scales;
  • developing specialized model-output products and visualization tools; and
  • educating the users about best practices in using the high-resolution model products.


Building upon expertise in numerical weather prediction (NWP) solutions, RAL has built a program developing and tailoring modeling systems for international partners optimized for the end-users’ region of interest and application.

Forecast verification and evaluation is often an unseen partner in engineering and scientific advances.  Verification provides systematic and objective evaluation of the quality (or performance) of a forecast.  In turn, this process allows comparisons to be made between versions in the development of an advanced forecast system.  RAL has expertise in developing customized verification systems to meet the needs of the end-user that provides tools (e.g., types of operational diagnostic statistics, display system, etc.) to provide an assessment of tailored modeling systems. 

Example of an End-to-End Operational Forecast System

In 2014, NCAR completed a major project to improve and modernize the numerical weather prediction capability for Saudi Arabia Meteorological Service (Presidency of Meteorology and Environment: PME) through the development of a Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) and data assimilation system.  A component of the NWP system was the implementation of the NCAR/RAL Joint Numerical Testbed (JNT) Model Evaluation Tools (MET) for real-time model evaluation, development of a forecast display system, and hands-on forecaster training.  A first-of-its-kind operational dust forecast system based on WRF-Chem was installed at PME.  All the operational forecasts, dust forecasts, and verification products are available to PME forecasters from a custom designed web-based forecast display system.  An interactive Integrated Data Viewer (IDV) display system was also installed to provide additional forecast and data display resources for the forecasters.  Training was conducted on how to use and maintain the system during two visits lasting two weeks each. 

Future Development Activities

RAL continues to respond to the needs of stakeholders, developing, customizing and transferring technology to provide end-to-end forecast solutions. These partnerships range from US-based applications with government and private institutions to international weather agencies.  A significant component of this end-to-end forecast system development effort is to build capacity through workshops and hands-on training of local scientists and engineers, as was the case with the project in Saudi Arabia.

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End-to-end Modeling Systems