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This high-tech organization provides weather and information presentation services to customers around the world. It has particular expertise in supporting the media, aviation, and energy industries, and in national meteorological service operation.
permitted us to build a unique and flexible post-processing system, allowing us to compete head-to-head in the global weather services market.
Over the last 10 years, the business of numerical weather prediction has seen some dramatic change. Weather forecasting using computers used to be the sole purview of large national weather services, but lower-cost, high-performance computing changed all that. “The basic concept behind numerical weather prediction has been around for decades. Up until the 1990's, however, computing power was limited, so the process was chiefly done by large national weather services that had access to supercomputers. In the past decade there has been rapid growth in the number of smaller national weather services and private weather companies applying advanced forecasting techniques, due to the accessibility of low-cost, high-power computing,” says the Senior Development Meteorologist.
This organization is one such company that has capitalized on low-cost computing. The team was tasked with building more robust Local Area Models (LAMs) for their country by using statistical post-processing. They needed help with developing applications that were flexible and cost-effective but could also help him exploit unique ideas in weather forecasting.
The organization runs a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week operation, so the application had to be robust, fast, accurate, and easy to integrate with their existing systems.
During the design process I looked at many different commercially available statistical analysis packages but found that most of them were too "stand-alone" and did not mesh easily with our operational environment, required too much CPU time and memory, were not flexible enough for what we wanted to achieve, did not have particular unique applications that we required, or were just too expensive.
The IMSL Fortran Numerical Library met their list of requirements and enabled the team to concentrate on the science, rather than the coding.
The team uses the IMSL Fortran Library on Linux as part of the post-processing stage for developing the proprietary local area models (LAMs). Statistical post-processing gives the LAM the additional intelligence needed to generate superior forecasts. They runs the LAM on other machines as stand-alone processes, then refines the raw LAM output using code containing the IMSL Library algorithms to produce higher quality forecasts.
The organization uses several statistics algorithms in the IMSL Library, including regression, covariance matrices, Kalman, and optimization routines. Four times a day in 6 hour blocks, post-processing of the LAM is performed concurrently on separate machines. The code utilizing the IMSL Library runs on desktop PCs. The applications process 10’s of Gigabytes of data per day.
The organization has been very successful selling their forecasts globally to energy companies, who need forecasts for the next day or two, and stock exchange traders, who are interested in 2 week forecasts. The team has been very pleased with the IMSL Library and technical support:
We have been using the IMSL Library for five years and have had a very positive experience. Technical support has been helpful and the software has been problem free.
Using the IMSL Library has equipped the organization to offer more accurate forecasts that are tailored to the customer’s needs, distinguishing them from their competitors: “The flexibility provided by the IMSL Library has permitted us to build a unique and flexible post-processing system allowing us to compete head-to-head in the global weather services market,” says the Senior Development Meteorologist.
Internally, the meteorologists writing the local forecasts benefit from having more accurate Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) guidance. Better guidance results in more accurate forecasts that benefit the entire nation - public, commercial, transport, agriculture, marine, aviation, energy, etc.
Better, more accurate, weather forecasts aid in planning and in making critical decisions about the future. Whether it is the farmer planning to deal with a potentially damaging frost, a power plant operator trying to schedule maintenance, a fisherman planning his next trip, or a 747 pilot landing after flying across the Pacific Ocean, accurate weather forecasts assist in safety and commercial decisions throughout the nation.
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