The Ionospheric Weather Assessment and Forecast (IWAF) system is a computer software package designed to assess and predict the world-wide representation of 3-D electron density profiles from the Global Ionospheric Maps of Total Electron Content (GIM-TEC). The unique system products include daily-hourly numerical global maps of the F2 layer critical frequency (foF2) and the peak height (hmF2) generated with the International Reference Ionosphere extended to the plasmasphere, IRI-Plas, upgraded by importing the daily-hourly GIM-TEC as a new model driving parameter. Since GIM-TEC maps are provided with 1- or 2-days latency, the global maps forecast for 1 day and 2 days ahead are derived using an harmonic analysis applied to the temporal changes of TEC, foF2 and hmF2 at 5112 grid points of a map encapsulated in IONEX format (-87.5 degrees:2.5 degrees:87.5 degrees N in latitude, -180 degrees:5 degrees:180 degrees E in longitude). The system provides online the ionospheric disturbance warnings in the global W-index map establishing categories of the ionospheric weather from the quiet state (W = +/- 1) to intense storm (W = +/- 4) according to the thresholds set for instant TEC perturbations regarding quiet reference median for the preceding 7 days. The accuracy of IWAF system predictions of TEC, foF2 and hmF2 maps is superior to the standard persistence model with prediction equal to the most recent 'true' map. The paper presents outcomes of the new service expressed by the global ionospheric foF2, hmF2 and W-index maps demonstrating the process of origin and propagation of positive and negative ionosphere disturbances in space and time and their forecast under different scenarios. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.