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Weather Forecasts and Reliability


In the recent days, we’ve all heard a lot about the hurricane impacting the southeast united states and it the devastating impact that is expected to come from it. It seems every year there is a catastrophic weather event like this and a huge deal is made about the forecasting if these events. I personally wanted to look into how different websites and companies get their data, and how different models predict a storms strength, size and impact.

Weather sites base their predictions on a number of computer generated models that take input from the atmosphere and trends from the past to get an idea of what will happen. Historically the european(EURO) model is the more accurate than the united states based model(GFS). But for hurricane florence, the GFS has been spot on and the EURO has lagged predicting a southern turn more extreme than what actually happened. Websites that base their predictions off of the EURO model, because of this lag have lost viewers while websites that use primarily the GFS have gained viewers. I thought of this in the context of this course as a game with 2 players. Payoffs were having people view their page or not view their page and strategies were which model they would base their prediction off of. This interesting to think of in the context of mixed nash equilibria, because of the fact that the EURO is right more often and would have a high probability to be the dominant strategy for both of the players. Most of the time the payoffs wouldn’t matter too much because real life people don’t care too much if it is 5 degrees warmer or colder than they thought it would be, or if it rains 15 mins earlier or later than they thought. But for major storms like this it matters which strategy is chosen because if they choose wrong and are unreliable when people need them most, they will lose viewers at a higher rate.

Overall, at the end of the day hopefully people are able to find the information they need to stay safe and be best prepared. Although it is cool to think of the different strategies played by companies during events like this.


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September 2018