WunderCast Discussion

By: Shaun Tanner , 5:41 PM GMT on November 12, 2009

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There are a couple of things I want to discuss that came up in the last blog regarding the WunderCast Competition.

First, we decided to do the precipitation the way it is done for simplicity. Right now, participants put in a probability of precipitation from 0 to 100 for what they think will happen during that day. If it does rain, then the score is 100, if it doesn't then the score is a 0. The farther you were away from those numbers versus what you forecast, the more points you will accumulate.

As a scorer, I want people to hedge their bets at times when they are unsure whether it will rain or not. People who say 100 and it doesn't rain really get punished. I believe the points used to punish when you do get the precipitation incorrect is appropriate for now.

Also, someone said that the forecast duration should be less than two weeks per city. Let me tell you my stance on this. This competition was set up as a learning exercise. Those with no forecasting experience can learn from those with considerable forecasting experience. Thus, I chose to use the two week duration to get the maximum amount of variation in any given city without completely boring people. If the duration is cut down to one week, we may not see any precipitation, no cold spells, or anything interesting during that timeframe.

In addition, since the valid forecast days are only Tuesday through Friday, there are only 8 forecast days per city. Thus, it isn't exactly two whole weeks, but rather 4 days followed by three days off.

Anyway, my idea for this blog was to get some ideas on forecast cities. What cities would you like to see in the competition?

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14. Levi32
1:17 AM GMT on November 17, 2009
I'm thrilled some of you are suggesting cities in Alaska =) I've been wanting to see some in this competition. If I may suggest picking a city further south than Fairbanks. Fairbanks is practically in the tundra and doesn't see much variety in conditions very often in the winter. Anchorage would be a much better choice, or anywhere near the southern coastline. That area sees lots of variation.

I'll also point out that if Alaska is ever to be in this competition it should definitely be in the winter, not the summer. Summer is so boring here lol.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
13. hannabee296
2:28 AM GMT on November 14, 2009
How about a collection of cities with a range of precipitation values that are variously easy hard to predict? Based on historical data.
12. carolinagal
1:20 PM GMT on November 13, 2009
Any suggestions sound good to me... it was fun.

I'd ask for only 4 cities though. Two months was long enough, (especially if you don't get started for the first one.)
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 6794
11. mobal
12:53 AM GMT on November 13, 2009
Quoting tornadofan:
Spanish Fort, Alabama.


Oh yes that airport reports daily.......

:)
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 482 Comments: 5333
10. tornadofan
12:46 AM GMT on November 13, 2009
Spanish Fort, Alabama.
Member Since: April 5, 2007 Posts: 83 Comments: 12345
9. mobal
12:43 AM GMT on November 13, 2009
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
no mobile al for you mobal we can't just give it to ya



lOL......Hey, I tried!
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 482 Comments: 5333
8. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
10:18 PM GMT on November 12, 2009
Quoting mobal:
Anchorage, AK.
Erie, PA.
Flagstaff, AR.
Grand Forks, MN.
Mobile, AL.
no mobile al for you mobal we can't just give it to ya
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
7. mobal
8:51 PM GMT on November 12, 2009
Anchorage, AK.
Erie, PA.
Flagstaff, AR.
Grand Forks, MN.
Mobile, AL.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 482 Comments: 5333
6. jeffs713
8:43 PM GMT on November 12, 2009
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
my city pick would be

albany,ny
des moines,iowa
portland,oregon
jackson,miss
tallahassee,fla

good weather forecasting cites should give some good competion and these cities should prove to be interesting

IMO, I think Jackson, MS and Tallahassee, FL are a bit too close together, especially if looking at a daily basis. It is fairly likely that a frontal system could impact the weather of both on the same day. Albany, NY and Portland, OR are both intriguing choices, though.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5891
5. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
8:21 PM GMT on November 12, 2009
my city pick would be

albany,ny
des moines,iowa
portland,oregon
jackson,miss
tallahassee,fla

good weather forecasting cites should give some good competion and these cities should prove to be interesting
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
4. lawntonlookers
8:15 PM GMT on November 12, 2009
Denver sounds good also. To bad we couldn't find something up in the mountains like Aspen, CO "KASE"
Member Since: March 22, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1570
3. NRAamy
8:04 PM GMT on November 12, 2009
what about San Francisco?
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
2. jeffs713
8:03 PM GMT on November 12, 2009
Shaun,

I agree with lawtonlooker's ideas about Buffalo, Fairbanks, Houston, and Boston. I'm not so sure about Vegas, though. Maybe someplace like Denver, since many of the systems that impact Houston, Boston, and Buffalo either spin up or pass through the Denver area.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5891
1. lawntonlookers
6:32 PM GMT on November 12, 2009
Shaun

Buffalo, NY, Fairbanks, AK, Las Vegas, NV, Huston, TX, Boston, MA

Those sound good to me.

As far as the precipitation goes, when we would pick the high and low, we would only be off, depending on how close you were, by a few points. With the precipitation, you would be off by what ever your departure was between 0 and 100, divided by 10. So if someone gives a 50% chance, they would always have 5 points against them. If the amount was divided by 20, or even 30, your point lose for guessing a percentage rather than 0 or 100 would be more in line with the difference in temp, say only a few points vs a possible 10 points. Just my thoughts.
Member Since: March 22, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1570

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Shaun Tanner has been a meteorologist at Weather Underground since 2004.

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