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How much should we trust the weather forecast? If the experts are to be believed, then there will be snow in central London later this week. Depending on your perspective, the good news is that forecasts are becoming increasingly accurate, and the reason why – put simply – is because of better technology. 

A paper published by academics from MIT and Pennsylvania State University in Science last week highlighted that weather forecasting has become more accurate. The authors assert that a 72-hour hurricane warning today is, for example, more accurate than a 24-hour warning was 40 years ago. This is a function of better and more efficient data analysis and predictive capabilities; a combination of faster processing speeds, cheaper data storage and the cleverer application of artificial intelligence. IBM (which acquired The Weather Company in 2016) highlighted at this month’s CES trade show in Las Vegas that its latest forecasting system, which will be released during 2019, has the potential to improve predictive accuracy by up to 200% relative to existing models. Per IBM, its forecasting resolution may be sufficiently accurate to predict weather for any given 3km area.

Better weather forecasting benefits everyone. This matters particularly for farmers given the increasing challenges they face (watch this space: we will be publishing more on this topic later in the year). Those involved in renewable energy projects and urban planning should also see advantages, as will clearly consumers and commuters. Now, let’s just see whether it snows in London…

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