How it's made: The ultimate weather forecasting squad - 5 teams you need
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been going under the hood of weather forecasting in our 20-part series, showing how all the components that make an accurate, reliable forecast. Today, we’re exploring the teams you need to make your ultimate weather forecasting squad.
To forecast the weather you need data, but data alone isn’t enough: you need meteorology and forecasting expertise. Let us show you why in this article.
Have you Missed any of the earlier posts in the series? Check out the How It’s Made series here.
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Some people think that to come to accurate weather forecasting, you need the right team with the right equipment. They’re not wrong. However, in reality, you need a little more than that. Weather forecasting revolves around data, which means that you need specialists to gather the data, decode it, turn it into understandable information and create customer-specific solutions that make a real difference to the strategic decision-making process. One person alone cannot do everything that’s needed. Or, at least, they can’t if you want to do it right. In this article, we tell you about the five (!) teams that together form the ultimate weather forecasting squad.
"As a professional weather company you rely on timely and accurate processing of incoming weather observations and raw data from numerical weather models by a joint effort of your data team, your developers and your forecasters. Each team contributes with its own skills and expertise."
Chief Meteorology Officer
Team 1. Data processing
First up is the data processing team. Here is where you find data analysts that document all incoming weather data – ingesting and processing it in a way that other teams of the squad can understand. The members of the data processing team speak the required technical languages and know how to decode weather data, no matter where it comes from. They also know how to interpret weather model changes and changes in radar and satellite data; valuable information that they’ll pass on to other teams.
Team 2. Weather forecasters
Where the data management team focuses on information that’s already been gathered, the weather forecasters look for information on future events. They monitor the weather 24/7, so they can inform the media and customers on upcoming weather conditions. They’re also responsible for adjusting the forecasting systems when observations differ from actual weather conditions. In addition, the weather forecasters report on extreme weather, such as heavy storms, thunder, or winter road conditions.
Team 3. Meteorological services
There’s a difference between accurate weather forecasting and gathering weather-related information that’s valuable to your company. This is why the meteorological services team is so talented. They stand in close contact with customers and know which specific weather information they need. They collaborate with the weather forecasters and the data processing team and use their data to create more accurate reports. This can be a metocean report, for example, which informs a shipping company on conditions like wind speed and wave height in a specific cell on the grid.
Together, team 4 and 5 form the meteorological research team. However, as their priorities cover two distinct areas, let’s explore these separately:
Team 4. Professional services
Although the meteorological services team provides customers with specific weather information, customer-centricity is taken one step further by the professional services team. Here, customer-specific data from the meteorological services team is used to create solutions that add immediate value to the customer’s product or service. This can be a report on grid capacity for an energy company, de-icing recommendations for an airline, or wave analyses for companies in shipping or offshore.
Team 5. Weather systems
As we explained in a previous blog, data has to be checked for accuracy, completeness, and irregularities. This is why the other half of the meteorological research team concentrates on the testing and verification of forecasting reports. The weather systems team defines and tests algorithms to improve the quality of observations and forecast verification. They maintain and conduct research on the existing forecasting systems and integrate new developments and improvements. You might say the weather systems team is the R&D department of the weather forecasting squad! Apart from this very responsible task, the weather systems team is also in charge of knowledge management, in terms of publications done by the model operators, accuracy scores, and overall performance.
“I don’t have room for so many people!”
And there you have it: five teams that together form the ultimate weather forecasting squad. Don’t be scared though; you don’t have to hire thirty new employees. You probably work with data analyst already, and maybe you even have in-house weather forecasters. The professional services team consists of people that you can “borrow”, which means you can hire experts to help you integrate weather forecasts in your strategic decision-making process. Weather people are flexible that way!
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As a professional weather company you rely on timely and accurate processing of incoming weather observations and raw data from numerical weather models by a joint effort of your data team, your developers and your forecasters. Each team contributes with its own skills and expertise.