With approximately one third of the Sub-Seasonal Climate Forecast Rodeo under their belts, team standings are tightening and the seasons are changing. This means top honors in each of the four categories are very much up for grabs, and that cool-season forecasts will play a big role in determining which teams are well positioned on the leader board heading into the spring home stretch.
The Rodeo is a year-long, real-time forecasting competition, focused on western U.S. temperature and precipitation for weeks 3 and 4 and weeks 5 and 6. The Bureau of Reclamation is sponsoring the competition in partnership with NOAA, USGS, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Contestants submit forecasts every other week, and these are evaluated against observed data as it becomes available.
To be eligible for cash prizes, teams must outperform benchmark existing forecasts. In each category, prizes -- totaling $800,000 -- will be awarded to eligible solvers, based on those with highest average score over the course of the competition.
Why the Rodeo? Improved sub-seasonal forecasts for weather and climate conditions (lead-times ranging from 15 to 45 days and beyond) would allow water managers to better prepare for hydrological shifts, such as the onset of drought or occurrence of wet weather extremes. By sponsoring the competition, Reclamation aims to advance the science of sub-seasonal forecasting to be leveraged in water management, as well as by the broader community that can benefit from sub-seasonal forecasts.
Winners are anticipated to be announced in September of 2018. Check back for new scores and other updates until then.