A global look at forecasting's future

NCAR/UCAR experts to join unique world weather conference

July 10, 2014 | More than 1,000 forecasters, researchers, and other professionals from around the globe will convene in Montréal on August 16–21 for a first-of-a-kind meeting aimed at pooling international thought on where weather prediction is headed. NCAR and UCAR participants are on tap to cover a wide range of promising developments.

International Space Station view of Typhoon Neoguri, 7/7/14
Aboard the International Space Station, a flight engineer from the European Space Agency captured this view of Typhoon Neoguri as it spun across the northwest Pacific Ocean on July 7, 2014.  Although Neoguri's path was fairly well predicted, the powerful storm weakened more rapidly than expected before it raked eastern Japan on July 10. The unexplained "crack" extending leftward from the top of Neoguri's eye in this image has intrigued meteorologists. Tropical cyclones, including hurricanes and typhoons, are one of the major weather threats to be discussed at the World Weather Open Science Conference. (Image courtesy NASA.)

The World Weather Open Science Conference (WWOSC) will examine the latest scientific advances and discuss how the benefits of this knowledge can best be used for the good of society. The meeting’s co-organizers are the World Meteorological Organization, the International Council for Science, Environment Canada, and Canada’s National Research Council. NCAR and UCAR are among the meeting’s official sponsors.

While a number of regular conferences explore meteorological progress, this one is the first to bring together participants from around the world across the spectrum of weather-related specialties, including research, technology, forecasting, and stakeholders sensitive to weather impacts.

“What makes this conference different is that it brings together diverse research communities that usually meet separately. This will allow us to address all aspects of understanding, predicting, and responding to weather,” said NCAR director James Hurrell, who is part of the 15-member scientific organizing committee for the WWOSC. “Having this broad a spectrum of people together at one event will help us identify the biggest challenges and the most critical needs in weather prediction.”

UCAR president Thomas Bogdan will take part in a panel discussion on the future of the weather enterprise, a term that includes the academic, government, and industry elements. “If we are serious about saving lives and livelihoods,” said Bogdan, “we must invest our shared resources and expertise so that decision makers are better equipped to make the right decisions at the right times.”

NCAR and UCAR presentations

Below is a sampling of the topics to be covered by NCAR and UCAR presenters during the WWOSC. More-detailed programs can be found on the WWOSC website, which is available in English and French.

  • Developing a valid scale of past experiences for tornado risks
  • Transforming geoscience by moving data services and software to cloud-based systems
  • Forecast systems for road weather hazards
  • Processes influencing predictability of sea ice
  • A vision of Earth system research, prediction, and services in the 21st century
  • The usefulness of ensemble forecast techniques for predicting evolution of meningitis in Africa
  • User-focused approaches for evaluating weather forecast quality
  • Tropical cyclone formation: Findings from PREDICT
  • Historical perspective on the life cycles of extratropical cyclones
  • Global climatology of vertical wind shear near tropical disturbances
  • Next-generation airborne polarimetric Doppler weather radar


Future of weather prediction: Thunderstorm near Denver's Front Range radar, 5/21/04
A severe thunderstorm on May 21 looms near a NEXRAD radar located at Front Range Airport northeast of Denver. The storm's heavy hail and high winds forced closure of the nearby Denver International Airport. Severe thunderstorms during May 20-22 resulted in more than $100 million in insurance claims across Colorado, largely related to hail damage. (Photo by Bob Henson, UCAR.)


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The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.