Developing better weather forecasts

Nov 01, 2013

By being more precise in what is uncertain, the weather forecasts will become more reliable. A new method for forecasting the weather is now being developed at Uni Research.

"The forecasts can be used for offshore wind energy, marine operations and in several other areas," explains PhD candidate Torge Lorenz.

Covering the uncertainties

Together with Met.no and Statoil among others, he is developing the new weather forecasting method. He is doing this by working on a method that is under development at the ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) and transferring this to short-term forecasts, i.e. weather forecasts up to two days..

"We use a collection of model runs instead of just one and by doing so we better cover the uncertainties in the forecast," explains Torge Lorenz.

His mentor, research leader Idar Barstad at Uni Research, elaborates:

"This will be a more physically consistent way of forecasting the weather. Previously the estimate for in the weather was based on a less physical method but now ECMWF has switched to a new method which provides a more precise method for uncertainty," says Barstad.

Offshore wind

At present the method has been developed for the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea, first and foremost with the idea of deploying and maintaining offshore wind installations. But Barstad believes industry, tourism, agriculture and several other businesses will benefit from the improved method of forecasting the weather.

"It will be beneficial in a cost-benefit perspective. For example, Statoil will know there is a 95 per cent probability that the weather will be good enough to go out with equipment and crew and won't have to remain quayside due to poor ," he says.

He thinks the uncertainty prevalent in the forecasts is an untapped possibility.

"We won't have an exact prediction but will show which area the probability for temperature, wind and rain lies within. The new forecast will be more accurate because a greater degree of precision can be associated with the correct level of uncertainty in the forecasts," he explains.

Easier to make decisions

A similar method for forecasting the weather is used today but it has a less precise estimate of the uncertainty and a poorer physical basis, according to Barstad. Therefore there is a greater chance that the realities lie outside the sample space forecast, something which again means that you make important decision on an incorrect basis.

The project commenced before the summer and the two hope that even in a year they will have more information to share.

Lorenz and Barstad believe that in the long-term the method could be used everywhere, regardless of geographic area.

The new will give a more precise estimate of the uncertainty.

"This will make it easier for people who have to make decisions based on forecasts. They know the actual chance of the wind exceeding a certain value," says Torge Lorenz.

Explore further: New models developed by researchers to provide 7.5 days of wave predictions

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Assessing California earthquake forecasts

Sep 28, 2011

In the study, UC Davis researchers compare seven different earthquake forecasts (including their own) that were submitted to a competition organized by the Southern California Earthquake Center.

Recommended for you

Image: Grand Canyon geology lessons on view

5 hours ago

The Grand Canyon in northern Arizona is a favorite for astronauts shooting photos from the International Space Station, as well as one of the best-known tourist attractions in the world. The steep walls of ...

First radar vision for Copernicus

5 hours ago

Launched on 3 April, ESA's Sentinel-1A satellite has already delivered its first radar images of Earth. They offer a tantalising glimpse of the kind of operational imagery that this new mission will provide ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy

Small underground nuclear power plants that could be cheaper to build than their behemoth counterparts may herald the future for an energy industry under intense scrutiny since the Fukushima disaster, the ...

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer

It's not uncommon these days to find a colored ribbon representing a disease. A pink ribbon is well known to signify breast cancer. But what color ribbon does one think of with lung cancer?