12B.5 A Sub-seasonal to Seasonal Western Forecasting Rodeo: Time to Giddy-up!

Thursday, 26 January 2017: 11:30 AM
602 (Washington State Convention Center )
Ken Nowak, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO; and R. Cifelli, L. D. Brekke, R. S. Webb, C. Hennig, and R. S. Pulwarty

The Bureau of Reclamation, as the largest water wholesaler and the second largest producer of hydropower in the United States, exhibits an intrinsic need for skillful forecasts of future water availability. Researchers, water managers from local, regional, and federal agencies, and groups such as the Western States Water Council agree that improved precipitation and temperature forecast information at the sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S) timescale is a recognized need with significant potential benefit to water management. In response, and recognizing NOAA’s leadership in forecasting, Reclamation has partnered with NOAA to develop and implement a year-long, real-time forecasting prize competition where solvers will submit S2S forecasts of temperature and precipitation every two weeks. Prize competitions enable federal and other agencies to spur innovation on mission relevant topics by reaching a broad and diverse community of thinkers.
Solvers will compete in real-time against each other and with current operational and experimental forecast products as well as climatology and persistence. The competition domain will focus on the 17 western states where Reclamation operates. Forecasts will be evaluated once observational data become available and performance/skill will be posted on a competition leaderboard hosted by the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS). Prize categories include performance overall, regionally, and for any extreme events that may occur during the course of the competition. Potential Reclamation prizes total over $500,000. Although some researchers or entities may not be eligible for monetary prizes, the competition is open to anyone who wishes to participate and jockey for a spot atop the leader board.
This is a unique opportunity to solicit innovation and for novel forecast approaches, experimental products, and established models to all compete for both prestige and monetary incentives. The competition is expected to raise awareness on the S2S forecast need and the potential benefits- which extend beyond water management – to drought preparedness, public health, and others, while also yielding actionable advances for the state of the science in S2S prediction.
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