Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

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Professor Rood explains why Europe is beating the U.S. in weather forecasting

Posted: March 14, 2013

Professor Rood explains why Europe is beating the U.S. in weather forecasting

In a commentary for the Washington Post, Professor Ricky Rood discussed the superior performance of the European forecast model.

“As early as 1995, the weather forecasts from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) were emerging as higher quality than U.S. products,” Rood wrote.

The superior performance of ECMWF forecasts came back into discussion when Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012. Rood, who has worked on weather forecasting with NASA and NOAA, says there are meaningful underlying practices and approaches that distinguish ECMWF.

“ECMWF is, by U.S. standards, a small institution with a tightly focused mission. It can manage operations, research and infrastructure in a unified way to meet their mission. It has ownership of its budget and can direct that budget on whatever is required to make the best forecast. There is an internalized incentive structure that focuses people’s efforts on their products. They have benefitted from stability, strong management and focused leadership. They know how to satisfy their customers,” Rood wrote.

To read the full commentary, click here.

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