NEWTON: Predictive Weather Models
Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week NEWTON Teachers Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Referencing NEWTON Frequently Asked Questions About Ask A Scientist About NEWTON Education At Argonne Predictive Weather Models

Name: Luke
Status: student
Grade: 9-12
Location: WI
Country: USA
Date: Spring 2013

What are some of the programs used to predict the future temperature and precipitation? Are there any models that the National Weather Service uses that are like the ones the news channels use like


reports out the following computer weather models:

the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) model, which provides high frequency, hourly analyses of conventional and new data sources over the contiguous United States, and short range numerical forecasts in support of aviation and severe storm forecasting.

the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) model, which provides high frequency, hourly analyses of conventional and new data sources over the contiguous United States, and short range numerical forecasts in support of aviation and severe storm forecasting.

he Local Analysis and Prediction System (LAPS) Branch, carries on high resolution analyses and forecasts of weather using locally and centrally available meteorological observations. LAPS integrates data from virtually every meteorological observation system into a very high-resolution gridded framework centered on a NWS forecast office?s domain of responsibility. It includes data from surface observing systems, Doppler radars, satellites, wind and temperature profilers and aircraft. All of this information is incorporated every hour into a three-dimensional grid covering a 1040-km by 1240-km area. Using LAPS analyses, a variety of models are used to provide short-term forecasts.

the GFDL Hurricane Prediction System has provided operational guidance for forecasters at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in both the Atlantic and East Pacific basins. Developed at NOAA?s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton, New Jersey, a version of the GFDL model has also been used by the Navy to provide operational guidance for storms in most of the other ocean basins as well.

Some TV stations have their own weather radar and software packages that build pictures for the TV screen, as shown at the WISN site you posted and in my home area.

National Weather Service also builds and maintains weather radar stations all over the country. And puts their video online for use by citizens and radio & TV stations. Please visit to see a composite diagram of each individual NWS weather radar sites. You may also click on each site (marked by a white plus sign) to view that radar station?s video.

This site shows how the data from the individual radar stations are amalgamated into a composite picture. The output of the individual radar stations is output as digital data that can be processed by computers to form these composite maps. By the way, you can click on each segment of the composite picture to view the weather returns of any segment of the country. Individual stations can also purchase licenses or software packages to use this data in their broadcasts.

Although I primarily cite the weather underground site, there are other useful sites such as

But they all source their data from the data output by the National Weather Service.

Sincere regards, Mike Stewart

Hi Luke,

There are several models, computer programs that analyze atmospheric changes in wind, water vapor, pressures, temperatures and elevations. These may be in combination with land measurements of the same parameters. The output is Model Output Statistics(MOS).

The primary forecast models are the GFS (Global Forecast System) which is a combination of the Medium Range and Aviation called MAV, the Eta which is based off the NAM model (North American Mesoscale) and has MOS called MET, and the NGM (Nested Grid Model) which has MOS called FWC (Forecasted Weather Conditions).

The Surface Pressure/Precipitation/Thickness Program examines pressure, elevations, moisture(at each), convection and others. The 1000mb Forcast Model Program analyzes

temperature, dewpoint, wind and convergence.

The following are links to the models and how to interpret the MOS. Meteorology and Weather Prediction is a highly variable and detailed science subject to chaotic mathematics. In fact, chaotic mathematics was founded based on the weather predictions of convention patterns by Edward Lorenz in 1963.

Hoping this helps! Peter E. Hughes, Ph.D., Milford, NH

Hi Luke,

Thanks for the question. I would recommend searching the Internet using terms like "weather models" and "weather prediction models." You will find models with varying degrees of realism. Remember that to make accurate predictions using weather models requires a lot of computation time using supercomputers. The Navy has historically had an interest in such models.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have more questions. Thanks Jeff Grell

Click here to return to the Weather Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 223
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: November 2011
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory