Informal seminar: The Unified Forecast System (UFS); changing how the NWS does model development together with a broad community

by Hendrik Tolman (NOAA)

Large Committee Room

Large Committee Room


For several decades, one of the main critiques that the National Weather Service received in reviews was that model development was done “in house”, with a “not built here” attitude towards contributions from outside of NOAA or even outside the NWS. During the last two decades, most non-weather models in our production suite (waves, oceans, ice) as well as our specialized hurricane models have been moved to either using existing community models, or moving NOAA models to a community environment. Experience with these models have proven that a community approach results in much faster model development, and shortened time lines for getting innovations into operations. Based on these experiences, NOAA has been moving to a Unified Forecast System (UFS) approach to both research and operational modeling, moving to a unified (not unitary) set of model components used by a consolidated set of applications, moving to fully coupled and ensemble approaches at all time scales.

The presentation will provide background information on how NOAA has got to this point (basic principles governing the UFS), document the progress made so far  (code releases, operational implementations, etc), and discuss gaps and plans from the broader US modeling community to fully mature the UFs approach (gaps in UFS capabilities, outreach and training, involving the community etc.)