Just months after NOAA upgraded the American global weather model, the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) plans to upgrade their already-superior model so that it wipes the floor with our proud, measly little heap of computer algorithms.

If all goes according to schedule, the ECMWF will implement the upgrade on April 14, 2015, at which point all of us on the other side of the pond will be forced to hang our heads in shame. The Euro consistently ranks as the best global weather model when it comes to forecast accuracy, performing better than its competitors, including NOAA's GFS (American) model.

You can find a whole list of changes at the ECMWF's website if you're into that sort of thing, but the main takeaways are that they've tweaked the model from the bottom-up to make it more accurate. The model will also begin producing forecasts for precipitation type and precipitation rates for various types of sky water (rain, snow, freezing rain, sleet).

The "money-hungry" American stereotype falls flat when it comes to weather modelling; the Euro is (in)famously behind a hefty paywall, while the American models are free to access. If you want to buy access to the Euro, you have to subscribe to a weather model site like WeatherBELL or F5 Data. Posting images from the model on sites like Facebook and Twitter are against licenses, so in theory, people who don't cough up a pretty penny would never see Euro products that aren't already freely available.

There's a pretty good reason the Euro is behind such a fortified paywall, though—in 2013, it cost nearly $90 million to run the model.

While the Euro is a top-of-the-line product, each weather model has its strengths and weaknesses. If you're interested in tracking thunderstorms, for instance, the North American Model (NAM) or High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model should be your first stop, as mesoscale models handle convection better than global models. Even though the Euro beats the GFS on most fronts, the latter is still a pretty good model.

You can access the GFS (and plenty of other models) for free at Levi Cowan's awesome website, Tropical Tidbits.

[Image: ECMWF]

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