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NOAA Network Issue May Impact Weather Model Forecast Quality


Since Tuesday night, NESDIS, NOAA's satellite and information service, has been experiencing network issues, and has not received a full feed of satellite data for input, a critical component for the numerical models used to forecast the weather.

In a statement, the National Weather Service's National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) said it is investigating the root cause of the issue.

"Some satellite data has begun flowing into the NCEP model products again as of Wednesday evening," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Erik Pindrock said.

"However, certain data types remain unavailable for use by NCEP models. The longer it takes to get all of the data back, the longer that model forecast performance may continue to be impacted."

NOAA Network Issue May Impact Weather Model Forecast Quality

Marshall Moss, AccuWeather.com's Vice President of Forecasting and Graphics Operations, said the models rely on satellite data, as well as surface observations and other inputs to figure out the current state of the atmosphere and then project it forward into accurate forecasts.

Without a full component of inputs, the model output could be degraded.

The outage means forecasting abilities would be affected, but to what extent is still unknown, Moss said.

"Anybody that's forecasting is impacted by this," Moss said.

Not all of the weather forecasting models are impacted by this outage. The global forecast model suite run by the European Consortium for Medium-Range Forecasting (ECMWF), the most accurate forecasting model in the world, remains fully operational.

"AccuWeather makes a substantial recurring investment in the global forecast model suite run by the ECMWF," said Mike Smith, Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Executive for AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions.

"We make this investment because we want to provide redundancy and the finest, most accurate forecasts to our clients," Smith said.

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Weather prediction has always seemed iffy anyway.

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