MMM Scientist's Model Tests Limits of Weather Prediction

Falko Judt Uses an Exceptionally Detailed Version of the MPAS Weather Model to Test the Limits of Weather Prediction.

People often ask Dr. Judt, "How far out can we predict the weather"? And for decades, scientists have concluded that the maximum range for a specific forecast is about a couple of weeks. Judt, using an exceptionally detailed version of MMM’s MPAS weather model, returned to the issue to see if modern technology could move the forecasting needle. Unfortunately, the answer is no.

The reason has to do with the chaos of the atmosphere: even a slight perturbation such as a flap of a butterfly’s wing will have impacts that gradually ripple through the air worldwide. This makes it impossible to accurately forecast the day-to-day weather more than 2--3 weeks out, regardless of prediction technologies.

Despite such limits, scientists can still make substantial improvement to shorter-term forecasts, potentially making them highly accurate about a week in advance. 

To view the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences article authored by Falko Judt (published January 2020), please click here.

Please see the New York Times article regarding Dr. Judt's research. A Hopeful Forecast: More Accurate Long-term Weather Predictions