Why isn’t the forecast for weather accurate?
You hear it all the time: “Why isn’t the forecast for weather accurate?” The United States has the best weather data in the world, and it still is not good enough to use to make business decisions. Radar and satellite give us a fantastic view of the sky and allow us to forecast large weather patterns better than we ever have been able to before, but they still can’t tell us what is happening on the ground. Today’s ground weather infrastructure relies on expensive technology from 30 years ago and doesn’t really even know if it hailed.
Why isn’t the forecast for weather accurate?
Many times, people have cursed the national and local weather personalities asking “Why can’t we get the forecast for weather accurate?”.
Forecasters have gotten far better at forecasting the weather in the past ten years, but there is still room for improvement. And a weather forecaster is as only as good as their tools. With radar and satellite, we have been able to forecast broad weather patterns with breathtaking accuracy, but have trouble understanding the aftermath unless we get in person reports from the ground.
We created Understory to bridge that gap. To give forecasters, first responders, and enterprise leaders the tools to make razor sharp decisions where they were previously throwing darts at the board.
How does Understory help weather forecasters?
Data resolution on perils such as hail and wind has been inadequate for taking many actions that could mitigate damage. That situation is changing. Understory created a revolutionary type of data from ground-truth networks of proprietary weather stations (or sensors) called RTis (Real-Time Instruments).
These weather stations deliver roof-level measurements of hail and wind impacts. This is crucial information for groups that need to monitor and respond to property damage. Hailstorms are responsible for billions of dollars in property and crop damage every year. Mounting litigation surrounding hail damage claims adds to the cost and complexity of the situation.
And this problem goes far beyond the insurance industry. In the United States, half a trillion dollars of the GDP fluctuates on temperature alone (Lazo et al, 2011). According to MunichRe in the first half of 2016, we saw $17 billion dollars in catastrophe in the U.S. and $70 billion worldwide. That’s much higher than 2015, were we had $25 billion total. We should be able to do something about it, we should make ourselves more resilient, and make better decisions with the right data at the right time. That is why we need a new way to measure weather as granularly as possible to help us take decisive actions.
These ideas inspired the Understory weather station, the RTi. It was created to be cost effective and maintenance free, enabling Understory to build and deploy hyper-local networks of weather stations quickly. The ethos of our hardware is a collection of commoditized components put together in a unique fashion. When the smartphone revolution started in 2008, our ability to create cost effective technology increased at an exponential rate. Smartphones drive down the cost of processing, memory, batteries, and sensors. Ultimately, Understory can own and operate these networks to create a new weather resource and provide that data to millions of people and multiple industries.
Understory is creating a public good
One of the most exciting things about Understory is that we are creating a public good. In the weather community, there is a war between government and private sector interests over the costs of weather data. Public entities believe that weather data should be free for all, whereas private sectors are looking for capital to fund their data generation and weather models. We are solving that problem, by creating strong values for insurance, agriculture, utilities and more — we can provide our data to government, academia, and municipalities for completely free. Our mission is to find ways to support the next generation infrastructure by creating a real value add in enterprise.
This is Understory. This is where the understanding of weather is being revolutionized. All industries, from insurance to utilities to agriculture, are detecting and embracing the change at hand. Our cutting-edge technology and weather data provides each industry with unique benefits that allow them to operate more efficiently, build better relationships with their customers, and, ultimately, solve the challenges that weather brings to their specific industry.
How does Understory do it?
This mission of advancing the understanding of weather could only be supported by a team that leverages diverse skillsets, backgrounds, and opinions to solve tough problems, promotes a healthy, work-life balanced lifestyle to ensure all members are able to operate at their peak performance, moves and responses quickly to make the most of all opportunities, and stays forever hungry to learn, experiment, improve, and offer each other and the world more. Our team has experienced great rewards and humbling learning opportunities and celebrated them all. We respect and care about our team, each of our clients, and each community we touch.
This is where the worldwide weather infrastructure is being rebuilt. Our data and the insights it provides, allows us the opportunity to redefine what it means to forecast the weather accurately. No one has been able to fully understand weather – until now.