The computational system
The figure below shows the basic structure of a typical computational weather forecasting system.
At the heart of the prediction activity is the computer system shown below in the centre of the picture. It does not need to be located in one place, but may also be distributed to more countries, increasing the system's operational reliability.
To start with, observations from various sources are collected and transmitted to the system. In addition to traditional SYNOP ground surface measurements and soundings, also measurements from ships and buoys on sea can be used. Nowadays, also ever-increasing amounts of measurements from weather radars, satellites and aircraft are utilized.
The atmospheric evolution at the boundaries of the limited area model is obtained from a global NWP model. For this purpose, the IFS model run by the European Centre for Medium Range Forecasts (ECMWF) is often used.
Forecast results are first stored into a real time database, from where they are further directly distributed to various applications and for viewing in the internet. Forecasts are also provided to meteorologists for further processing and for basis of forecasts to be issued. In addition, the results also stored in long-term databases to be used e.g. in model development.