Forecasts and Predictions (2024)

Forecast guidance refers to computer-generated output that utilizes environmental forcing equations and observations to assist in the preparation of a forecast. Numerical weather and oceanographic forecast models produce forecast guidance for various oceanographic and atmospheric conditions at both the global and regional scales.

NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) develops and maintains several weather, ocean, and climate numerical guidance systems. A full list of the operational models run by NCEP can be found on their Numerical Forecast/Analysis Systems webpage. Descriptions of and links to the forecast modeling systems that are useful for navigation can be found below.

Global Forecast Modeling Systems


The model runs as a coupled component to the NCEP Global Forecast System (GFS) and Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS). The NWS/NCEP operational global wave model (WAVEWATCH III) produces forecast guidance for wave height, direction, and period, as well as wind speed and direction, throughout the world’s oceans was replaced by this model. Users can choose between local, regional, and full-basin forecast zones to view the forecast guidance for several wave and wind conditions (e.g., significant wave height; primary swell wave height; peak wave period). The model is run four times each day, and each run produces hourly forecasts out to 120 hours and 3-hour forecasts out to 180 hours.

Global Real-Time Ocean Forecast System (GRTOFS)

The National Weather Service (NWS) Global Real-Time Ocean Forecast System (GRTOFS) provides forecast guidance for water levels, water temperature, salinity, and currents out to 144 hours (6 days) for most of the world’s oceans. The "Nowcast/Forecast Viewer" allows users to visualize the forecast guidance of each condition, and the model data can be downloaded as individual NetCDF files, OpenDAP urls, and regional GRIB2 files. The model has one forecast cycle per day at 0000 UTC, which uses 3-hourly meteorological forecast guidance from the NWS/NCEP Global Forecast System (GFS); each forecast cycle is preceded with a 48-hr long nowcast/data assimilation cycle. The system uses the Hybrid Coordinates Ocean Model (HYCOM), an eddy resolving, hybrid coordinate numerical ocean prediction model; it has a horizontal resolution of 1/12 degree and 32 hybrid vertical layers.

NOAA (NOS) Global Extratropical Surge and Tide Operational Forecast System (Global ESTOFS)

NOAA’s Global Extratropical Surge and Tide Operational Forecast System (Global ESTOFS) provides users with nowcasts (analyses of near present conditions) and forecast guidance of water level conditions for the entire globe. Global ESTOFS serves the marine navigation, weather forecasting, and disaster mitigation user communities. The modeling system is run four times per day, and water level forecast guidance is provided out to 180 hours (nowcast for previous 6 hours followed by 7.5 day forecast). Forecast output includes water levels caused by the combined effects of storm surge and tides, by astronomical tides alone, and by sub-tidal water levels (isolated storm surge). The hydrodynamic model employed by Global ESTOFS is the ADvanced CIRCulation (ADCIRC) finite element model. Global ESTOFS has a coastal horizontal resolution of at least 1.5 km and up to 80 m globally. Global ESTOFS is a collaborative effort led by the NOAA/National Ocean Service (NOS)/Office of Coast Survey along with the NOAA/National Weather Service (NWS)/National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Central Operations (NCO), the University of Notre Dame, Argonne National Laboratory, the University of North Carolina, and The Water Institute of the Gulf.

Coastal Forecast Modeling Systems

NOAA (NOS) Operational Oceanographic Forecast Modeling Systems (OFS)

NOAA provides forecast guidance for water levels, water temperature, salinity, and currents to help mariners safely navigate their local waters. The guidance is generated by a national network of numerical oceanographic forecast modeling systems for the next 48 or 120 hours depending on the water body. These forecast modeling systems are usually run four times per day (e.g. 0, 6, 12, and 18 UTC). The systems are implemented in critical ports, harbors, estuaries, Great Lakes and coastal waters of the United States, and form a national backbone of real-time data, tidal predictions, data management and operational modeling.

Depiction of surface currents for part of the New York/New Jersey Harbor, based on the OFS available there (NYOFS).

Nearshore Wave Prediction System

The Nearshore Wave Prediction System (NWPS) provides on-demand, high-resolution nearshore wave model guidance to U.S. coastal WFOs, triggered in real time by forecast wind grids prepared and submitted by the individual offices. Through an interactive map, users can find forecasts for significant wave height, peak period, wave direction, and wind speed out to 6 days for several stations along the U.S. coastline.

Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS)

Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) is a new and essential component of the NWS’s Climate, Water, and Weather Services. AHPS is a web-based suite of accurate and information-rich forecast products. They display the magnitude and uncertainty of occurrence for floods or droughts, from hours to days and months, in advance. Although AHPS focuses mainly on forecasts of water levels along rivers, it does provide time series plots of observed and predicted water levels at many coastal locations.

Forecasts and Predictions (2024)


What is an example of a forecast and a prediction? ›

Forecasting typically focuses on predicting outcomes over a longer time frame, often involving trends and patterns that occur over months, years, or even decades. Predictions can be more short-term and immediate, often used to estimate outcomes in the near future, up to a year.

Can forecasting give accurate prediction? ›

Chakri acknowledges that forecasts are rarely 100% accurate. However, he argues that it's essential to understand the range of the forecast. The planning process should take into account the risks of the supply chain and the ability of the supply chain to support that forecast.

What is the difference between predicting and forecasting? ›

The key difference between forecasting and prediction is the level of uncertainty involved in the process. Forecasting relies on historical data and statistical models to make predictions about future trends, while prediction relies on incomplete or uncertain information to make judgments about future events.

Is a forecast a prediction? ›

A forecast is a prediction made by studying historical data and past patterns. Businesses use software tools and systems to analyze large amounts of data collected over a long period.

What is a good example of prediction? ›

Examples of predict in a Sentence

All the local forecasters are predicting rain for this afternoon. She claims that she can predict future events. It's hard to predict how the election will turn out. Many people predicted that the store would fail, but it has done very well.

What is a good example of forecasting? ›

Historical forecasting is a method of creating projections based on past data. For example, a company looked at their historical data for the last three years and found that sales have increased by 20% each year. Based on this information, they projected that sales would increase by 20% this year.

What is an example of forecast accuracy? ›

The accuracy KPI is simply calculated as 1 – % Total Error (MAE, RMSE etc.). For example, if your MAE is 20%, then you have a 20% error rate and 80% forecast accuracy. Using the accuracy as a KPI rather than using the error is somehow a more positive way to communicate for your demande forecasting.

Is a forecast 100% accurate? ›

A seven-day forecast can accurately predict the weather about 80 percent of the time and a five-day forecast can accurately predict the weather approximately 90 percent of the time.

What two things are forecasts based on? ›

Forecasts are based on opinions, intuition, guesses, as well as on facts, figures, and other relevant data. All of the factors that go into creating a forecast reflect some extent what happened with the business in the past and what is considered likely to occur in the future.

What is forecasting in simple words? ›

Forecasting is a method of making informed predictions by using historical data as the main input for determining the course of future trends. Companies use forecasting for many different purposes, such as anticipating future expenses and determining how to allocate their budget.

What is a synonym for predict and forecast? ›

Some common synonyms of forecast are foretell, predict, prognosticate, and prophesy.

What best defines forecasting? ›

What Is Forecasting? Forecasting is a technique that uses historical data as inputs to make informed estimates that are predictive in determining the direction of future trends. Businesses utilize forecasting to determine how to allocate their budgets or plan for anticipated expenses for an upcoming period of time.

What is considered a prediction? ›

A prediction is what someone thinks will happen. A prediction is a forecast, but not only about the weather. Pre means “before” and diction has to do with talking. So a prediction is a statement about the future.

Who makes predictions and forecasts? ›

NWS meteorologists across the country create forecasts for a wide variety of weather elements such as rainfall, snow storms, severe weather and hurricanes. Our hydrologists specialize in how water flows across the landscape and makes it into lakes, streams and rivers.

Is a forecast a guess? ›

Always remember that a weather forecast is an educated guess – meteorologists (and mankind, in general) cannot control the weather. The best we can do is observe past and present atmospheric patterns and data, and apply this information to what we think will happen in the future.

What is the definition and an example of a prediction? ›

So a prediction is a statement about the future. It's a guess, sometimes based on facts or evidence, but not always. A fortune teller makes a prediction using a crystal ball. A meteorologist uses maps and scientific data to tell us about the possibility of rain, snow or sunshine.

What is an example of a prediction in a sentence? ›

Journalists have begun making predictions about the winner of the coming election. Despite predictions that the store would fail, it has done very well. The figures and statistics are used for the prediction of future economic trends.

What is an example sentence of forecast? ›

Examples from Collins dictionaries

He delivered his election forecast. The weather forecast is better for today. They forecast a humiliating defeat for the Prime Minister. He forecasts that average salary increases will remain around 4 per cent.

What is an example of weather forecasting prediction? ›

For example, if it is sunny and 87 degrees today, the persistence method predicts that it will be sunny and 87 degrees tomorrow. If two inches of rain fell today, the persistence method would predict two inches of rain for tomorrow.


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