A NEW weather forecasting system will provide “the most accurate weather predictions ever seen worldwide”.
Built by IBM, the system will be able to provide hour-by-hour updates for any location on the planet.
In many poorer countries around the world, weather predictions are few and far between – thanks to a lack of tracking technology.
But IBM’s new tool will be able to provide reports for areas as small as 1.9 miles across, no matter where it is in the world.
It’s called the IBM Global High-Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting System, or GRAF for short.
GRAF is the first hourly-updating commercial weather system that can predict something as small as a thunderstorm globally.
According to IBM, the GRAF system will provide a “nearly 200% improvement” in the detail of weather forecasts.
And better still, IBM will be launching the new system with The Weather Company later this year.
“Today, weather forecasts around the world are not created equal, so we are changing that,” said Cameron Clayton, general manager of weather at IBM.
“Weather influences what people do day-to-day and is arguably the most important external swing factor in business performance.
“As extreme weather becomes more common, our new weather system will ensure every person and organisation around the world has access to more accurate, more finely-tuned weather forecasts.”
The new technology was announced at this week’s CES 2019 tech show in Las Vegas.
It aims to change a trend where much of the world has to settle for infrequent weather forecasts that are only accurate to about 9 miles across.
This is too-wide an area to capture some weather phenomena – like thunderstorms.
The system hoovers up previously untapped data like sensor readings from aircraft.
This makes up for a lack of specialised weather equipment in some parts of the world.
IBM will also be sucking up data from willing smartphone owners, who can provide information gathered using the barometers built into their handsets.
Of course, phone owners will have to opt-in – so there shouldn’t be any privacy issue.
IBM said hundreds of thousands of weather stations, some of which are “run by amateur weather enthusiasts”, will be able to contribute data to the system.
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