NWP Essentials

NWP Essentials Course

Description

Numerical models are constantly changing. Learners need a solid understanding of the basic building blocks of model systems, such as dynamics, physics, and assimilation. This course will enable learners to adapt to future model changes and use model guidance intelligently when forecasting the weather. The lessons in this course were created in collaboration with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and include Southern and Northern Hemisphere examples. In addition to Australian meteorologists, forecasters around the world will benefit from the availability of these materials.

The following topics are considered pre-requisites for this course:

  • Introductory dynamical meteorology
  • Atmospheric radiation
  • Atmospheric thermodynamics and thunderstorm processes
  • Planetary boundary layer processes
  • Cloud microphysics

Goals and Objectives

Course Objectives

    The following list outlines some of the skills that the learners will be able to do after completing the five lessons in the course:

    1. Explain the role a forecaster plays in the use of NWP.
    2. Describe when and how to use NWP guidance in each step of the forecast process.
    3. Describe the difference between how a grid point model and a spectral model represent data.
    4. Describe the difference between how a grid point model and a spectral model lose information about unresolved features.
    5. Describe the goal of data assimilation (DA), and why a model might produce a better forecast if its analysis does not fit a perfect observation too closely.
    6. Adjust sensible weather forecast variables such as 2-m temperature when an NWP forecast contains cloud errors resulting from misforecast mesoscale convective features.
    7. Adjust forecasts to take into account the impacts of over- and underactive convective schemes on NWP forecasts.
    8. Explain how 3D-VAR and 4D-VAR handle background error covariances
    9. Identify examples of bad analysis
    10. Identify at least one consequence of errors in model physics on model forecasts at and around a forecast location.
    11. Describe how the model prediction of boundary layer evolution can be affected by vertical resolution in an area of complex terrain.
    12. Identify at least one consequence of errors in model physics (cloud structure and soil moisture) on model forecasts at and around a forecast location.
    13. Identify at least two elements of NWP model surface parameterizations that affect surface/atmosphere exchanges and their impacts on the PBL.

Overview

The course consists of five lessons adapted from COMET’s NWP Basics and Background course:

  1. NWP and Forecasting
  2. NWP Essentials: Structure and Dynamics
  3. NWP Essentials: Data Assimilation
  4. NWP Essentials: Model Physics
  5. NWP Essentials: Precipitation and Clouds

It is recommended that those new to weather forecasting go through the lessons in order. Those with some experience can go directly to the NWP topic of greatest interest to them.

To receive a course completion certificate, you must successfully complete all five lessons which will take about 7.5 hours.

Course Outline

Additional Resources

Course Outline