163 Undergraduate Forecast Skill by Participation Time in the WxChallenge National Weather Forecasting Contest: 2005 – 2016

Monday, 23 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Nicholas J. Eckstein, Ball State University, Muncie, IN

Handout (1.2 MB)

The demand for accurate weather forecasts drives the inclusion of weather forecasting in college meteorology curricula.  An important part of this education is the requirement or encouragement for students to participate in competitive weather forecasting contests.  The WxChallenge is one such forecasting contest open to all students, faculty and alumni of North American universities, and thus has enjoyed widespread participation since its inception in 2005.  This research investigates the development of forecast skill throughout the undergraduate careers of students participating in the WxChallenge since 2005.  This development could occur from exposure to increasing amounts of meteorological knowledge, increased experience with forecasting, or other external factors. The forecast skill of undergraduates participating in the contest for multiple years is evaluated for changes through time as this development progresses to determine whether increased meteorological knowledge or forecasting experience have any significant effect on skill.  Weather forecasts and actual observations are evaluated from the WxChallenge’s public website for undergraduate students from Fall 2005 through Spring 2016.  Submitted numerical forecasts are scored to produce skill scores by individual forecast variables that also exhibit high or low biases.  These skill scores are compared and tested to determine differences that exist in skill based on year in school, enrollment in specific courses, length of time forecasting in the WxChallenge, and other factors.  Specific results were not yet available at the time of this abstract submission but are forthcoming soon.  Relevant applications to weather forecasting education and evaluation in universities and the effect of forecasting contests on forecaster improvement are examined.
- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner