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Unified Model Partnership – enabling accurate and timely weather and climate forecasting

The world-leading Unified Model is the weather forecasting model of choice for a growing number of countries and agencies. New Zealand is one of the five core members of the global Unified Model Partnership. [Photo: Dave Allen, NIWA]

New Zealand is a founding member and key contributor to a partnership that develops one of the world’s foremost weather forecasting and climate prediction systems.

This international collaboration is called the Unified Model Partnership and involves a group of five core countries partnering to develop world-leading weather and climate forecasting technology. Known as the Unified Model, this technology encapsulates our scientific understanding of how the atmosphere, earth and oceans work, allowing us to make predictions of the future from hours out to centuries.

NIWA is New Zealand’s contributor to the Unified Model, helping develop its technology and sharing its information with other organisations and researchers around the country.

Along with New Zealand, the five core members of the partnership are the UK, Australia, India and South Korea; with Singapore, South Africa, Poland and the US Airforce as associates.

The need for weather and climate predictions is unprecedented. The frequency and severity of climatic events are increasing and our exposure to risk is also increasing as the world’s population and infrastructure grows.

It is only through good science that we can improve our forecasting and help reduce the risks.

A growing number of countries and organisations are using the model as the climate and weather prediction of choice.

The model has proved invaluable in forecasting tropical cyclones, fire weather risks, flooding and sea-level storm surges. It is increasingly used in global transport management, assessment of volcanic eruptions and responding to human health and biosecurity threats.

Members of the Partnership are meeting in Wellington at the beginning of March 2019 to celebrate the achievements and outcomes of the past five years and to sign up to a further five year period.

See more information on the Unified Model.