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Global Forecast System (GFS)

An animated image of GFS simulated total atmospheric ozone concentration, forecast from 00UTC on July 12, 2012 to July 16, 2012 at 00UTC—a four day forecast—in three hourly intervals. The lowest concentrations of ozone on the planet reside over the Antarctic during this period. This image was produced with the Grid Analysis and Display System (GrADS) and ImageMagick.

The Global Forecast System (GFS) is a weather forecast model produced by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). Dozens of atmospheric and land-soil variables are available through this dataset, from temperatures, winds, and precipitation to soil moisture and atmospheric ozone concentration. The entire globe is covered by the GFS at a base horizontal resolution of 18 miles (28 kilometers) between grid points, which is used by the operational forecasters who predict weather out to 16 days in the future. Horizontal resolution drops to 44 miles (70 kilometers) between grid point for forecasts between one week and two weeks. The GFS model is a coupled model, composed of four separate models (an atmosphere model, an ocean model, a land/soil model, and a sea ice model), which work together to provide an accurate picture of weather conditions. Changes are regularly made to the GFS model to improve its performance and forecast accuracy. It is a constantly evolving and improving weather model. Gridded data are available for download through NOMADS. Forecast products and more information on GFS are available at the GFS homepage.

A global analysis plot of GFS surface temperatures, in degrees Celsius, for July 12, 2012 at 00UTC. At this time, the highest surface temperatures on the planet are in the Sonoran Desert in northwest Mexico and the southwestern United States. The extreme maximum temperature is 56.5°C, or 134°F. This graphic was generated by downloading a subset of GFS data through the NOMADS THREDDS Data Server (TDS) then visualizing with NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory's ferret visualization tool.