OU Leads WxChallenge Forecasting Contest
WxChallenge is a collegiate weather forecasting competition that provides the opportunity for individual forecasting. Each week a new geographical site is chosen. Participants will forecast for the site four times in the week (Monday-Thursday). Each forecast is submitted the night before the forecasted day and must include the maximum temperature, the minimum temperature, the maximum sustained wind speed, and the total amount of precipitation that falls in that day.
After each day, each forecast is given error points based on its accuracy. At the end of the contest, the points are tallied and the individual with the least error points wins.
The competition runs through the fall and spring semesters. Participants can choose to compete for only one semester or for the entire academic year. Forecasting all year has its benefits: at the end of the year, full-year participants can enter a bracket-style forecast tournament. Additionally, at OU a scholarship is given annually to the top undergraduate full-year forecaster.
WxChallenge has even become part of the curriculum here at OU, but there are many more reasons to participate. The National Manager for WxChallenge is right here on campus! Dr. Jeff Basara teaches the senior level course Synoptic Meteorology, and each of his students is required to participate in WxChallenge. Students are graded on their forecasts, and a special prize is given if they are able to score better than their professor or TA.
There are also local WxChallenge Managers for each area. Ours is Dr. Jason Furtado, who told how he came to be involved: “I’ve done it since I was a freshman in undergraduate, and to be honest I didn’t do very well because I just started. But the amount of stuff that I learned just every day doing it was really valuable.” This contest is a great way for young students, in particular, to get hands-on experience forecasting, and it also presents the opportunity to learn from mistakes. Many students come to college with a passion for weather, and forecasting every single day is a good way to stay involved with something you love, Furtado told us.
If you would like to get involved with OU’s WxChallenge team visit the WxChallenge Website for more information.