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Kala Fleming, Water Research Scientist, IBM Research - Africa

Kala Fleming, Water Research Scientist, IBM Research – Africa

By Kala Fleming

On the tiny island of Antigua where I grew up we always had enough water. We never had to call a water truck and to our knowledge, no one ever got sick from drinking the water in its natural state. The ‘natural’ state of water on Antigua is straight to the downpipe from the roof and into a concrete tank in the ground under each house. Community ponds also captured extra rainfall that others used for watering animals and washing cars.

Rainwater harvesting in the Caribbean provides a more reliable source of supply than piped systems and the geology of the region limits the availability of ground water. In the Virgin Islands, building regulations even require all new houses to harvest rainwater. So, in places such as urban Africa where ensuring water security has become increasingly tricky, why has this approach not caught on? Continue Reading »

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Jasper Schroder, IBM Global Center of Excellence for Water Management - Lead Developer

Jasper Schroder, IBM Global Center of Excellence for Water Management – Lead Developer

By Jasper Schroder & John Cohn

Around the world, more than 20 terabytes of weather data is generated every day. If we could use all of this data to build more precise, accurate weather forecasts, we could dramatically improve the way cities and businesses plan for and manage through storms, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and more.

Yet in Africa – a vast continent with widely varying weather conditions – there is a relatively low density of weather stations collecting climate data, leaving scientists without the information they need to build this kind of advanced forecast. Continue Reading »

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Dr. Jochen Schmidt, Chief Scientist, Environmental Information, NIWA Research, Wellington, NZ

Dr. Jochen Schmidt, Chief Scientist, Environmental Information, NIWA Research, Wellington, New Zealand

By Dr. Jochen Schmidt

New Zealand’s farmers and growers are in constant combat with the country’s variable and often extreme weather.

Many important operational decisions ­– when to fertilize, irrigate, spray or move stock, for example ­– hinge on knowing precisely what the weather is going to do. Extreme events like floods, frosts, snowstorms and droughts can have a devastating effect on productivity and profitability.

So being prepared is key.

Standard public weather forecasts generally fall far short of what farmers and growers need. So at New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) we used our high-resolution forecasting capability to launch a new subscription service called NIWA forecast to generate predictions tailored to their specific needs. Continue Reading »

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