Weather Forecasting: The Quiet Revolution Saving Lives

 In Media releases, News

A weather forecasting revolution, 50 years in the making, is saving lives and helping industry make better decisions in the face of chaotic weather and climate change.

Head of Research at the Bureau of Meteorology and Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) Winter School 2017 public lecturer, Dr Peter May, says computer modelling and data science has dramatically transformed forecast accuracy and extending weather predication capability.

“These tools have changed the scale and capability of our research, we now produce five day forecasts as accurate as three day forecasts were just ten years ago. The Bureau’s modeling ranges from hours to two years and climate projections over the next 100,” he says.

With climate change leaving greater concentrations of people in vulnerable locations and increasing stress on agricultural industry and water supply, long-term outlooks and understanding of impact on communities and economies is critical.

“Providing ever finer detail means we can provide increasing accurate modeling to inform long-term planning. Working on time scales of as little as a day, we can also link critical flood risk and fire forecasts to their impact for those down at the farm or catchment,” says Dr May.

A leader in understanding the physics of thunderstorms and tropical cyclones, Dr May warns a flood of data without long-term mathematical, social science and advanced computing capability poses a risk.

“Long-term, it is vital we maintain the tools and workforce to turn this data into information to make better decisions, otherwise we risk drowning our forecasters in data with little impact where it is needed,” he says.

Dr May will deliver this year’s AMSI Winter School public lecture at the Queensland University of Technology from 6.30 pm on Monday, 3 July 2017.

AMSI Director, Professor Geoff Prince says the Institute is excited to partner with QUT and event sponsors to showcase the multi-discipline impact of mathematics to the broader community.

“This research illustrates the power of mathematics and statistics to deliver real community and economic impacts that will benefit Australians now and into the future,” says AMSI Director, Professor Geoff Prince.

AMSI Winter School 2017 will run over two weeks in from 26 June to 7 July. Headlined by national and global field leaders, this year’s program will provide students with cutting-edge insights into computational data science.

AMSI Winter 2017 is sponsored by AMSI, QUT, the Department of Education and Training, the BHP Billiton Foundation, SGI, ACEMS, Tech One, QCIF and, the Simulation Group.

For public lecture registrations visit: https://ws.amsi.org.au/public-lecture-2017/

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