Success Stories

CFAN’s products represent the intersection of advanced research and decision support technologies with client needs and opportunities.


The following examples illustrate how CFAN has developed products to respond to client needs and opportunities. 

Weather and Climate Forecasts in Support of Energy Marketing, Sales, and Trading

CFAN developed OmniCast (based on ECMWF forecast products) on an exclusive basis in response to the needs of a major client in the petroleum industry for extended range, better-than-market weather forecasts to support energy trading, sales and marketing. After the catastrophic 2004/2005 Atlantic hurricane seasons, the client perceived a strong advantage to having an exclusive, extended-range tropical cyclone forecast product to anticipate disruptions to energy supply, drilling, refining and transport activities. CFAN responded to this challenge by translating its advanced tropical cyclone research into an innovative forecast product for North Atlantic hurricanes, which became operational in 2007. In particular, this product provided the first model-based probabilistic forecasts of tropical cyclone formation and pre-genesis tracks. During 2008, with Hurricanes Ike and Gustav having major impacts on the production region in the Gulf, CFAN’s forecasts were also used for operations, emergency management and business continuity.

Building upon the success of our hurricane forecast product, CFAN responded to the challenge from our client to provide extended-range forecasts of surface weather for the main energy markets in the U.S. and Europe using ECMWF forecast products. In 2009, CFAN's product suite was expanded to include daily, weekly and seasonal forecasts for the U.S. and Europe of surface temperature, heat wave and cold events, and 100 m wind forecasts. In 2011, we developed probabilistic forecasts of streamflow and hydropower for the Columbia River Basin in response to an opportunity perceived by our client.  CFAN continues to develop new products for this client, in response to their evolving needs and opportunities. 

Climate Forecast Applications in Bangladesh (CFAB)

Every few years, major floods engorge the Brahmaputra and Ganges Rivers for periods ranging from a few days to a month or more, often displacing tens of millions of people and devastating agricultural production.  With funding from USAID and CARE, CFAN developed an extended-range probabilistic flood forecasting system for the Ganges and Brahmaputra (on time scales from days to 6 months) to predict the probability that river water level heights will exceed critical levels. The CFAB project began in 1999, and the flood forecast system became operational in 2003 for the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers. In 2007, a new experimental dissemination program brought warnings directly via a cell phone network to more than 100,000 residents in five rural provinces in Bangladesh. On the basis of these forecasts, entire areas were evacuated ahead of the floods. Early harvesting of some crops occurred and livestock and belongings were saved. In 2010, the flood forecasting technology was transferred to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department. More information [link]

Predicting hurricane landfall impacts in Florida 

Florida was struck by 8 hurricanes during 2004/2005, with catastrophic impacts. CFAN’s early and accurate forecast of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was presented in a series of 3 webinars organized by Earth Networks, each of which was attended by over 400 individuals from the energy sector.  Following these webinars, an electric power provider in Florida perceived an opportunity to use CFAN’s tropical cyclone forecasts as part of their strategy to mitigate disruption of the electricity supply from landfalling hurricanes. In response to their need for high-resolution probabilistic wind speeds to estimate outages, CFAN developed a customized high-resolution (5 km) probabilistic hurricane wind forecasts. CFAN’s predictions of landfall impacts of hurricane winds use an adaptive statistical-dynamical technique to statistically downscale the coarse resolution surface winds from both the ECMWF and NOAA NCEP ensembles.  CFANs forecasts are being used to drive outage models to help manage and recovery from the hurricane impacts, particularly with regards to emergency crew placement. CFAN’s forecasts helped the client support the rapidly restore power following Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew in 2016.

Heat wave forecasts for Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

Heat waves are an immense problem in South Asia during the pre-monsoon rainy season. In partnership with the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), CFAN developed a product to provide probabilistic heat stress forecasts out to 8 days for Ahmedabad to optimize health and municipal services. This forecast product provides probabilities of the exceedance of a series of threshold temperatures and heat stress index. The Ahmedabad Municipal Council receives probabilities of the exceedance of a series of threshold temperatures and heat stress index. Each threshold is associated with an attendant public plan and the probability of exceedance allowed the officials to determine the risk and decide whether or not to take action. These forecasts are then made available via an interactive web site available to the city workers, council and (through secondary channels) the public at large. More information [link]

Projected Economic Impacts of Hurricanes in Latin America 2020-2025

As part of a World Bank project to assess the potential consequences of climate destabilization in Latin America, CFAN conducted an assessment of the potential economic impacts of hurricanes during the period 2020-2025.  CFAN developed scenarios for the statistics of landfalling tropical cyclones for different regions in Latin America for a five-year period ca. 2020–2025, accounting for the impacts of both natural variability and global warming on tropical cyclone frequency, intensity, and the cyclone tracks. The hurricane projections were combined with projections of population and GNP and damage estimates from past hurricanes to estimate the future risk of hurricane damage in each of the regions. These estimates of future hurricane damage included exposure to hazard, the frequency or severity of the hazard, and the vulnerability of exposed elements. The projections of hurricane damage were interpreted in the context of country vulnerability indices.  These projections were used to guide World Bank investments in specific countries that would have the greatest impact on reducing losses and increasing resilience.  More information:  [link]