ECMWF

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) uses complex mathematical models to calculate weather predictions across our planet. These forecasts form the basis for detailed national predictions, as well as seasonal predictions for the future.

The ECMWF building in Reading, England.
The ECMWF building in Reading, England. © ECMWF

The ECMWF calculates weather developments several times a day for the coming days using numerical models. For the purposes of this modelling, data is continually collected and collated from national monitoring networks all around the globe. The ECMWF provides the world's most accurate weather model for medium-range forecasts for 5 to 15 days ahead. These computations serve as the basis for national forecasts:

  • Model calculations optimised for a few days ahead  
  • Medium- and long-range weather forecasts

In addition, these calculations are also used for climate research. The researchers have invested a great deal of effort over the past few years into producing monthly and seasonal outlooks. This involves calculating the average, rather than actual, weather patterns.

Centre jointly run by 34 European countries

The models are continually being developed through intensive and resource-hungry research work, and are also very costly themselves owing to the computer resources they require. The European states therefore joined forces to carry out this work, and have been jointly operating the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts in Reading, England since 01 November 1975. Altogether 34 countries participate in the ECMWF.

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