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Weather model is made available to the public

The Icon climate and weather model is now available to the public. The developers of the model from Switzerland and Germany see it as a milestone in climate and weather research.

The move will help to make science more transparent, according to a press release issued by the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) on Thursday.

Icon (Icosahedral non-hydrostatic modeling framework) is a so-called numerical weather model that uses three-dimensional computer simulations to calculate changes in the atmosphere over the coming hours and days. According to Empa, such weather models are primarily used by national weather services such as the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss).

By making the model code available under an open source license, researchers worldwide have the opportunity to use it, according to Empa. It offers a whole range of possible applications, from global and regional weather forecasts and climate projections to very high-resolution digital twins of the Earth system. Commercial use of the model is also possible under the license.

"Decisive moment"

"The open source availability of the ICON model marks a decisive moment in meteorological research. The Icon model is currently in the test phase at MeteoSwiss with the aim of using it for daily weather forecasts before the end of this year": Oliver Fuhrer, Head of the Numerical Prediction Department at MeteoSwiss, was quoted in the press release.

The research institutions behind Icon are the Swiss "Center for Climate Systems Modeling" (C2SM, i.e. MeteoSwiss, ETH Zurich, Empa and WSL), the German Climate Computing Center (DKRZ), the German Weather Service (DWD), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M).


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