SAN DIEGO--()--This winter has featured a roller coaster of extreme weather. Nearly half of 2013 so far has registered as either extremely warm or extremely cold from Chicago to New York, according to San Diego based weather analytics firm EarthRisk Technologies. Such volatile weather can drive meteorologists crazy and this winter has been exceptionally challenging.
“The GWO is an important input for forecasting more than one week in advance, especially when traditional weather modeling is suffering from periods of such low skill.”
“Many of our customers are meteorologists,” said EarthRisk’s founder Stephen Bennett, “and they are telling us that they are suffering through one of the most difficult forecasting periods that many of them can remember.” Forecasters, investors and traders are searching for new methods to reduce uncertainty and many are increasingly leaning on an index that strives to quantify how “energetic” the global atmosphere may be at any point-in-time.
The Global Wind Oscillation (GWO) index was developed by Dr. Klaus Weickmann and Ed Berry in 2009 while both were scientists working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (A synoptic-dynamic model of subseasonal atmospheric variability, 2007; The Tropical Madden-Julian Oscillation and the Global Wind Oscillation, 2009).
The GWO is a globally integrated quantity that represents atmospheric variability, which is often associated with the position of jet streams around the globe. At times, this variability can lead to episodes of extreme weather phenomena and rapidly changing weather patterns.
Ed Berry and Klaus Weickmann are now advisors at EarthRisk Technologies. EarthRisk, in turn, provides analytics for a new extended range forecasting service based in Houston and directed by Berry called “Atmospheric Insights.” Berry has worked with Dr. Weickmann for the past decade researching and developing the GWO. Their work points to instances where variations in the magnitude of the GWO can lead to outbreaks of anomalous cold weather in the big population centers of the US and Europe. Conversely, other undulations in the GWO can lead to extreme periods of warm weather.
According to Berry, “The GWO is an important input for forecasting more than one week in advance, especially when traditional weather modeling is suffering from periods of such low skill.” A major limitation to this approach involves forecasting the GWO itself. Berry continues, “If you know how the GWO will evolve, you have a much better idea for the risks of extreme weather. Unfortunately we haven’t had routine methods for forecasting the GWO.”
That’s where EarthRisk steps in. EarthRisk Technologies is partnered with scientists at the University at Albany in New York. Under the guidance of Albany Professor Dr. Paul Roundy and EarthRisk’s Meteorology-Lead David Margolin, the first real-time GWO forecasting system was recently completed. Albany PhD student Nick Shiraldi pioneered the work and said, “I’m excited to contribute research that has real-world applications for forecasting.” Shiraldi’s system currently ingests data from NOAA’s Global Forecast System and EarthRisk plans to introduce other inputs as the system builds out.
The forecast is running in real-time while being reviewed by meteorologists from the government, various universities, as well as by experts from several commercial firms. The forecast currently indicates that GWO will move into phases 2-3 in a couple of weeks.
So what does all that mean? When that question was posed to Berry he said, “If that forecast is right, it should mean a continuation of this winter’s variable jet stream pattern. The temperature roller coaster should continue.”
As a blizzard roars through New England, many in the Northeast will be looking forward to the next period of extreme warmth!
About EarthRisk Technologies:
EarthRisk Technologies is a San Diego-based software company founded in 2010. The company’s flagship product, TempRisk, is a web-based platform that crunches 60 years of weather data to formulate the odds of cold snaps and heat waves 40 days in advance, a lead-time that is twice as long as any in the industry. Trading groups, power producers and energy traders around the globe use TempRisk for a climatological edge in their investments. For more information, visit www.earthrisktech.com