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THORPEX Research and the Science of Prediction

Abstract

THORPEX was a ten-year international research program designed to accelerate the rate of improvement in the accuracy of predictions of high-impact weather.

THORPEX was a ten-year, international research program organized by the World Meteorological Organization’s World Weather Research Program. THORPEX was motivated by the need to accelerate the rate of improvement in the accuracy of 1-day to 2-week forecasts of high-impact weather for the benefit of society, the economy, and the environment. THORPEX, which took place from 2005 to 2014, was the first major international program focusing on the advancement of global numerical weather prediction systems since the Global Atmospheric Research Program, which took place almost 40 years earlier from 1967 through 1982. The scientific achievements of THORPEX were accomplished through bringing together scientists from operational centers, research laboratories and the academic community to collaborate on research that would ultimately advance operational predictive skill. THORPEX included an unprecedented effort to make operational products readily accessible to the broader academic research community with focused community efforts on problems where challenging science intersected with the potential to accelerate improvements in predictive skill. THORPEX also collaborated with other major programs to identify research areas of mutual interest, such as topics at the intersection of weather and climate. THORPEX research has: i) Increased our knowledge of the global-to-regional influences on the initiation, evolution and predictability of highimpact weather; ii) Provided insight into how predictive skill depends on observing strategies and observing systems; iii) Improved data assimilation and ensemble forecast systems; iv) Advanced knowledge of high-impact weather associated with tropical and polar circulations and their interactions with middle latitude flows; v) Expanded society’s use of weather information through applied and social science research.

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