Next Generation Whole Atmosphere Model (NGWAM) for ionospheric simulation and forecast: status, plans, requirements, and capabilities
Abstract:The Whole Atmosphere Model (WAM) has been developed in collaboration of the NOAA Space Weather Prediction and Environmental Modeling Centers (SWPC and EMC) by vertical extension of the operational Global Forecast System (GFS) model over the last decade. The model has demonstrated remarkable performance in simulating climatology and daily variability of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere driven from below. Coupled to ionosphere-electrodynamics models it not only reproduced dramatic variations of ionospheric plasma drifts and density distribution observed during sudden stratospheric warmings but also demonstrated predictive capability with lead times up to 2 weeks. WAM has reached a level of maturity to be implemented into operations at the National Weather Service (NWS) in the next few years.
Within the same timeframe NWS also plans to substantially upgrade GFS to the Next Generation Global Prediction System (NGGPS). Specific capabilities of NGGPS include in particular a nonhydrostatic dynamical core and the ability to directly simulate important processes such as tropospheric convection at very high resolution globally and without the need for parameterization. This opens an opportunity for development of NGWAM. Specific requirements for extension of NGGPS into NGWAM will be discussed and capabilities of the new models in application to the upper atmosphere and ionosphere dynamics, simulation, and prediction presented.