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GRIB Model

GFS - Global Forecast System

Provider:National Centers for Environmental Prediction, NOAA (USA)
Model scope:Global
Update frequency:every 6 hours
Resolution:0.25°, 15.0nm, 27.8km
Model duration:61 forecasts starting at 0 hr, ending at 16 days
Parameters:pressure, wind, wind gust, rain, cloud, temperature, humidity, dew point, convection, vorticity, vertical velocity, simulated radar, precipitable water, visibility, 0C isotherm, 250 mb, 500 mb, 850 mb
GRIB model date:Fri Oct 30 06:00:00 2020 UTC
Download date:Fri Oct 30 11:08:23 2020 UTC
Download delay:5hr 08min

Note: the Download delay is the amount of time required for the GRIB model to compute its forecast and then for the LuckGrib cluster to download the data and make it available. The LuckGrib delay is generally less than 10 minutes, the remainder of the delay is the model compute time.


GFS is the most commonly used weather forecast model and is a good choice for those who are new to using GRIB forecast data. GFS has global coverage and the LuckGrib server provides access to up to 16 days of forecast data.

The following description has been taken directly from the official documentation

The Global Forecast System (GFS) is a weather forecast model produced by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). Dozens of atmospheric and land-soil variables are available through this dataset, from temperatures, winds, and precipitation to soil moisture and atmospheric ozone concentration. The entire globe is covered by the GFS at a base horizontal resolution of 18 miles (28 kilometers) between grid points, which is used by the operational forecasters who predict weather out to 16 days in the future. Horizontal resolution drops to 44 miles (70 kilometers) between grid point for forecasts between one week and two weeks.

The GFS model is a coupled model, composed of four separate models (an atmosphere model, an ocean model, a land/soil model, and a sea ice model), which work together to provide an accurate picture of weather conditions. Changes are regularly made to the GFS model to improve its performance and forecast accuracy. It is a constantly evolving and improving weather model. Gridded data are available for download through the NOAA National Operational Model Archive and Distribution System (NOMADS). Forecast products and more information on GFS are available at the GFS home page.

Prior to January 2003, the GFS was known as the GFS Aviation (AVN) model and the GFS Medium Range Forecast (MRF) model. GFS-AVN and MRF products are a collection from NCEP’s NOAAPort. Grids, domains, run frequencies, and output frequencies have changed over the years.

Note on sea level pressure

See this blog post for a note on the mean sea level pressure (PRMSL) paramter in the GFS data delivered by LuckGrib. A quick summary is that as of August 28, 2018, an improved mean sea level pressure parameter is being used. This new parameter has a higher resolution and is able to resolve smaller features, such as tropical cyclones.

June 12, 2019 note on GFS update

GFS is normally updated each year, year after year, steadily improving. This years update is larger than normal. For a number of years the folks at NOAA have been working on a big update to GFS - this was called the FV3-GFS.

This next generation GFS, now called GFS v15.1, has been available through LuckGrib for over a year as a research model. Many people had been downloading the new version of GFS and comparing its forecasts to the production version of GFS, at that time, GFS v14.

As of the 12Z cycle of GFS on June 12th, all downloads of GFS are of the newly updated model. If you have built GRIB requests for the next generation GFS, those requests will continue to work, however they now return the production GFS data.

If you are interested, the official service change notice detailing this update is available.

Contratulations to the entire NOAA team who worked on this update!

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