Nowcasting. Yes, there is such an activity which the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) defines as the detailed description of the current weather along with forecasts obtained by extrapolation from the current time to six hours ahead. In this time range, it is possible to forecast small-scale features such as meso-cyclones, thunderstorms and tornadoes with reasonable accuracy”.
In its resolve to attract and encourage students to embrace the science of Meteorology, the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) of the Department of Science and Technology came up with the Nowcasting Competition. They will be challenged to use their research and computer programming skills in providing short-ranged weather forecast.
With the recent natural disasters caused by climatological changes, nowcasting could very well become a useful tool in the government’s efforts in disaster preparedness.
Students who are currently enrolled in any college/university in the country may join the competition which will be conducted from September 2013 – June 2014 to capture the monsoon season. Using the latest radar, satellite and observational data to make accurate nowcasts, the participants will develop a computer program and/or set of algorithms that will automate data analysis and the creation of small-scale weather systems affecting Metro Manila.
Forecast area is Metro Manila. Basically, the computer program should be able to monitor convective storms, predict storm attributes such as the probability of hail, hail size and storm velocity. It should also include the probable Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) in the next 6 hours. Near real-time outputs should be provided in graphical form and the corresponding .csv format are automatically archived. Data from the 25 PAGASA rainfall stations in Metro Manila will be used.
The expected output is a working nowcasting model for Metro Manila including source code with appropriate documentation. Input data should include, but are not limited to: radar, satellite, automatic weather stations (AWSs), automatic rain gauges (ARGs), and the output from PAGASA-WRF model.
The contestants will be required to test their models in PAGASA under the supervision of the Nowcasting Competition Team of PAGASA. The QPF outputs of the developed model will be used for the actual observation available for Metro Manila. The judging of the working nowcasting models will be based on the accuracy of the rainfall forecast.
The Board of Judges is composed of representatives from PAGASA, UP-National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS), UP-Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology (IESM) and the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI).
The PCIEERD also took on the challenge from faculty members from some universities that they can come up with better predictive models given access to weather data. But more than this, PCIEERD believes in the capabilities of students and if done through a competition, they will also give their best.