Wednesday, March 21, 2018

National Earth System Prediction Capability (ESPC)

The National ESPC is an ongoing collaboration between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Dept. of Defense (U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force), Dept. of Energy (DOE), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop an improved coupled weather and ocean prediction capability and engage other federal agencies and academic partners involved in the earth system modeling, research and development. The nation's security and economic well-being relies upon accurate global analysis and prediction capabilities for the physical environment over time scales of a few days to a few decades. This need for better informed decisions is amplified by recent trends in the climate mean and variability, which reduce the predictability of average conditions and extreme events affecting commerce, defense, infrastructure and water, energy and other resources. The National ESPC will improve environmental predictions and help decision makers address critical policy and issues by extending the national predictive capability from hours and days to seasonal, annual and decadal time periods through improved coupled global environmental prediction. 

The National ESPC was initiated as a result of multiple community calls to improve interagency coordination and streamline efforts in a national initiative to provide the best information to stakeholders. Developing and improving the complex environmental models to deliver these forecasts requires the resource focus and world-class expertise of multiple agencies, a coordinated set of agency requirements and a system approach to seamless physical earth system prediction across time scales.


Meet broad but specific agency requirements for an earth system analysis and prediction framework to support hours to seasonal global prediction at appropriate horizontal and vertical resolution, including the atmosphere, ocean, land, cryosphere and space.

  •  Advance computational and environmental numerical prediction science and technology
  • Enhance our understanding of complex interactions of the earth environment
  • Extend predictive capability to decades
  • Identify and quantify uncertainty and risk


The National ESPC builds on the progress made by the existing National Unified Operational Prediction Capability (NUOPC) partnership. NUOPC is focused on implementing an operational, global, atmospheric ensemble system based on existing operational modeling technology at weather time scales. NUOPC developed an initial TriAgency collaboration and management including a common research agenda and common model architecture. The National ESPC is focused on developing and implementing the next generation integrated earth system prediction capability, at weather and longer time scales. The National ESPC is engaging multiple federal, private and academic organizations in a combined research, development and operational transition effort. 

Scientific Challenges

  • Extending our predictive capability from minutes to decades through a better understanding of the earth system
  • Modeling the complex interaction between the oceans/lakes, atmosphere, land, ice and ecosystems
  • Using environmental observations to improve predictions
  • Improving the representation of physical processes in earth system models
  • Advancing our computational efficiencies and capability
  • Identifying and quantifying the uncertainty associated with environmental prediction

 For further information please see the ESPC Fact Sheet and ESPC site.


Oceanic & Atmospheric Research Headquarters

1315 East-West Highway | Silver Spring, MD 20910 | 301-713-2458