2010 Physical Sciences Review » Biographies » Zoltan Toth

Zoltan Toth

Zoltan Toth

Zoltan Toth

Chief, Forecast Applications Branch

Global Systems Division


Leads research and development activities related to advanced data assimilation and ensemble forecasting, including state-of-the-art real world applications, statistical post-processing, and coordinates observational and verification activities within FAB. From 2002-2009, Leader, Ensemble Team at Environmental Modeling Center (EMC) at National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP); from 1992-2002, Leader, Global Prediction Group of SAIC at EMC/NCEP. Activities at EMC/NCEP included the development of the first operational ensemble forecast system; development of first operational targeted observational system; oversight of maintenance, further development, and transition to operations activities related to global and regional ensemble forecast systems as well as the Winter Storm Reconnaissance (WSR) program.


  • Ph.D. Climatology, Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary, 1986
  • M.S. Meteorology, Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary, 1981

Research Interests

Various aspects of predictability, including chaos theory (error growth, dimensionality), data assimilation (covariance estimation based on ensemble information, best methods with use of imperfect numerical models), ensemble forecasting (representation of uncertainty arising from use of imperfect initial conditions and numerical models, statistical post-processing, probabilistic products, decision support tools), sensitivity analysis (identification of sensitive areas for taking targeted observations, data impact studies with real and simulated observations).


  • More than 50 peer reviewed, 100 other publications
  • Over 1,800 citations to peer reviewed papers
  • Seminal contributions to ensemble forecasting and adaptive observations
  • US Department of Commerce Silver Award for Meritorious Federal Service, Nov. 2008
  • Editor for Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics (2001-Pressent) and Idojaras (2004-Present)
  • Over 50 invited lectures and 140 other presentations at national and international meetings
  • Organizer/convener of over 30 international scientific meetings with over 1,800 participants
  • Principle Investigator in 7 major field campaigns and 5 funded research initiatives
  • Reviewed more than 100 papers and 40 proposals for over 20 journals and agencies
  • Served on and led national and international working groups, panels, committees associated with BARC, USWRP, THORPEX, WMO
  • Biography included in Who is Who in America (Marquis, 2009 edition)

Recent Publications

  • Hou, D., K. Mitchell, Z. Toth, D. Lohmann and H. Wei, 2009: The effect of large scale atmospheric uncertainty on Streamflow predictability. Journal of Hydrometeorology. (in press)
  • Son, J., D. Hou and Z. Toth, 2008: An assessment of Bayesian bias estimator for numerical weather prediction. Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, 15, 1013-1022.
  • Wei, M., Z. Toth, R. Wobus, Y. Zhu, 2008: Initial perturbations based on the ensemble transform (ET) technique in the NCEP global operational forecast system. Tellus A, 60, 62-79.
  • Toth, Z., M. Pena-Mendez, A. Vintzileos, 2007: Bridging the gap between weather and climate forecasting: Research priorities for intraseasonal prediction. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. 88, 1427-1429.
  • Toth, Z., and M. Pena, 2007: Data assimilation and numerical forecasting with imperfect models: The mapping paradigm. Physica D, 230, 146-158.