|22 July 2016|

Crucial weather data for safety and resource management solutions to underserved areas around the world

The Weather Company, an IBM business,  announced this week it will leverage one of the world’s largest Internet of Things (IoT) platforms to create critical weather data which can be used by stakeholders involved in preparing for natural disasters.

Developing countries don’t have the early weather warning systems in place to help governments properly plan. Leading to horrendous death tolls: 2.5 million lives have been lost over the past 30 years in natural disasters, according to The World Bank.

To address these challenges, in 2001 Weather Underground (WU), a subsidiary of The Weather Company, developed the Personal Weather Station (PWS) Network. With over 200,000 stations in 195 countries, this network enables The Weather Company to provide hyperlocal forecasts to millions around the world with unprecedented accuracy. Each station is equipped with multiple sensors for detecting barometric pressure, humidity, temperature, wind speed and direction, and other factors. Greater personal weather station data leads to more precise and enhanced forecasts, which can help governments and communities better anticipate and act on weather conditions.

“The Weather Company’s weather forecasting strength is based on more than 160 weather models and the expertise of more than 150 meteorologists to produce the most precise and accurate forecasts available,” said Mary Glackin, head of science & forecast operation, and senior vice president for public-private partnerships, The Weather Company. “We are committed to continuing to improve the accuracy of our forecast and working in concert with national meteorological services toward our goal of providing every person on the planet with the weather forecast information they need to be safe and prepared in the face of weather. As our climate continues to change, our mission will become even more critical.”

To improve the availability of such data, Weather Underground is collaborating with various local meteorological and government organisations to provide 100 personal weather stations where they may be most beneficial based on population density, web connectivity, current infrastructure gaps, and exposure to unique severe weather challenges.

As the PWS Network expands and integrates with the Watson IoT platform, researchers can leverage the cognitive computing power of Watson to develop new systems and applications for things like precision agriculture (e.g., optimised irrigation, fertilisation, pest control) for these emerging and developing markets, thereby providing integral solutions for governments, city planners and businesses looking to optimise industry growth and management of critical resources.