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Rapid Refresh (RAP)

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Composite reflectivity

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Surface Temperature

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850 mb Relative Humidity

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850 mb Wind

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250 mb Wind

The Rapid Refresh is the continental-scale NOAA hourly-updated assimilation/modeling system operational at NCEP. RAP covers North America and is comprised primarily of a numerical forecast model and an analysis/assimilation system to initialize that model. RAP is complemented by the higher-resolution 3km High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model, which is also updated hourly and covering a smaller geographic domain. NCEP implementation of 3km HRRR occurred 30 Sept 2014.

Experimental HRRRv2/RAPv3 implemented at ESRL 1 Jan 2015.

Recent RAP/HRRR presentations
  • Developed to serve users needing frequently updated short-range weather forecasts, including those in the US aviation community and US severe weather forecasting community. Also used prominently for energy-related (especially renewable) forecast guidance.

    High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR)

    Older news items

      The key features of the Rapid Refresh include:

    • high-frequency updated (every 1h) short-range weather model forecasts (out to 18h) in support of aviation, severe weather, energy, and other mesoscale weather forecast users
    • high-frequency (every 1h) 3-d objective analyses over all of North America, assimilating the following types of observations:
      • Commercial aircraft (including moisture data from WVSS-II sensors)
      • Profiler related
        • Wind profilers (404 and boundary-layer 915 MHz)
        • VAD (velocity-azimuth display) winds from NWS WSR-88D radars
        • RASS (Radio Acoustic Sounding System)
      • Rawinsondes and special dropwinsondes
      • Radar reflectivity (3-d)
      • Surface
        • Surface reporting stations and buoys (including cloud, visibility, current weather)
        • Mesonet (defer to RAP version 2)
      • Satellite
        • AMSU-A/B satellite radiances
        • GOES satellite radiances (defer to RAP version 2)
        • GPS total precipitable water estimates
        • GOES cloud-top data (pressure and temperature)
        • GOES high-density visible and IR cloud drift winds
      • Experimental
        • Lightning - defer to RAPv2 (used in ESRL RAP since Jan 2012)
        • Special wind-energy observations - defer to RAPv2 (used in ESRL RAP)

    Access to real-time and archive RAP grids
  • NCEP ftp site for real-time RAP data in GRIB2 format
  • NCEP RAP product inventory
  • NWS/COMET archive of RAP hybrid (native) grids
  • NASA ARM archive for RUC/RAP data . Click under "Data User Notes" on switch from RUC to RAP data on 5-1-2012. Data must be requested from the DOE/ARM facility.
  • Link to RUC data access (some links obsolete)