• Judith Curry

New initiative to improve subseasonal forecasts

Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN) has been awarded a grant from the NOAA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to improve subseasonal weather forecasts (weeks 3 to 4).

Under this award, CFAN is developing advanced solutions that address the challenges of providing probabilistic predictions on subseasonal timescales. The forecast improvements are targeted at developing forecast innovations to support decision making for the energy and agricultural sectors.

In the energy sector, there is a growing need for extended-range forecast information as renewables increase penetration into the grid, to support efficient plant operations, energy integration, energy trading, and asset management. For growers and crop production, subseasonal forecasts can help anticipate planting and harvesting dates, the need for irrigation, logistics around harvesting and transportation, and decisions related to storage and marketing. For commodity trading in grains and other high value crops, subseasonal weather forecasts can support hedging strategies, including futures and forward contracts.

To address these needs, CFAN is developing an innovative multi-model prediction system using the CFSv2 and ECMWF forecasts that exploits the advantages of each model. Advanced ensemble calibration and interpretation techniques support scenario predictions of extreme events. A comprehensive assessment of predictability provides the basis for assessing the confidence of individual forecasts and for identifying forecast ‘windows of opportunity’.

“At the moment the biggest challenge for the subseasonal time scale is identifying actionable forecast information” said Violeta Toma, Senior Product Manager for Energy and Principal Investigator for the NOAA SBIR. “From the end-user perspective, this time scale is critical for management decisions, and while such forecasts are not as skillful as tomorrow’s forecast, they can still be used effectively, especially if we identify windows of increased forecast skill. Our ultimate goal is to build a forecast tool that is optimally tailored for each client and includes a real time measure of the forecast confidence. “

During 2017, CFAN’s OmniCast product will begin incorporating forecasts from the NCEP CFSv2, in parallel to the existing ECMWF forecast products. Additional new forecast products will become available in BETA test mode.

CFAN is seeking collaborators, partners and clients to help develop these products in a way that optimizes their utility for the energy and agricultural sectors. Contact us.


Violeta Toma

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