NWP Training Series: Introduction

NWP DL Course


The goal of the NWP Training Series is to increase your effectiveness in using NWP information in the forecast process. Additionally, we hope to help you recognize your role as an essential part of the forecast process through lessons and WES caselets that promote situational awareness, proper use (or discard) of NWP and statistical guidance in operational situations, and how to make the most effective and efficient use of your time possible.

Courses in the NWP Training Series:

  1. NWP Basics and Background
  2. Using and Adding Value to NWP in the Forecast Process
  3. NWP in the Era of Gridded Forecast Preparation (development in progress)

In these introductory lessons, background material for the course is provided. You may find this material helpful, but reviewing these lessons is not required to complete the series.

Goals and Objectives

After taking the introduction, students should be able to state the role of numerical weather prediction in the forecast process. The supplementary materials in this Introduction familiarize the student with the basics of mesoscale models, with ensemble forecast systems and their output products, and with the fundamental dynamical concept of adjustment in the atmosphere and how that affects the influence of observations on a model forecast.


Every day, the operational forecaster faces decisions on the usefulness or even the validity of numerical weather prediction (NWP) output and the associated statistical guidance. Forecasters must also decide if time invested improving model data is worth the return on that investment. The philosophy of the NWP training series is to provide the scientific underpinnings for assessing and using NWP forecasts as part of the general forecast process. This training helps forecasters "open the black box of NWP" and become better users of NWP in an operational context, where the forecast may make the difference in the protect of lives and property.

Course 1: NWP Basics and Background. This course includes a series of lessons on the architecture of an NWP model system. Additional training materials introduce tools such as downscaling and bias correction of NWP model output. Background material for emerging NWP tools will be placed in Course 1 in the future.

Course 2: Using and Adding Value to NWP in the Forecast Process. These lessons will be accompanied by brief WES caselets to reinforce the operational application of key concepts. Although each lesson is self-contained, the set does represent a sequence, and thus should be taken in order. A final synthesizing WES case will be provided to integrate all course content into a forecast context.

Course 3: NWP in the Era of Digital Forecast Preparation. In this course we address how model data can be best used in the production of gridded forecast products. Topics include starting points for grid editing, evaluating model data in the Graphical Forecast Editor versus the D2D display, and applying the forecast funnel approach when making high-resolution forecast products.

A key aspect of the forecast that is not covered in the NWP Training Series is communication to the public and other end-users. Communicating forecast uncertainty, the risk and effects of high-impact events, or other sociological aspects of the forecast, while important, are outside the scope of this series.

Course Outline

Additional Resources

For easy look-up of current operational model configurations, we continue to maintain the NWP and Ensemble Forecast System matrices (http://www.meted.ucar.edu/nwp/pcu2). There, you can always find current information on the dynamics and physics used in many operational models, the NCEP ensemble configurations, and much more.

Course Outline