IBM’s weather forecast and data arm has launched Deep Thunder, a machine learning-powered service designed to provide customised local forecasts.
The Weather Company, which IBM recently acquired after a long partnership, uses global weather forecast models and sophisticated analytics to provide forecast and climate data to companies and organisations across the globe.
Adding The Weather Company’s datasets and forecasting capabilities has given IBM the scope to mix in its own analytics and machine learning technology to create Deep Thunder.
The software can provide weather analysis for targeted areas at a 0.2 to 1.2 mile resolution. The application of machine learning-based weather impact models developed by IBM Research allows Deep Learning to assess the effect of weather on a certain area, taking into account historical forecasts and environmental data such as vegetation and soil conditions.
Deep Thunder can then predict how the weather may affect a client's business in the area, for example alerting a retail business to the impact of a variation in temperature on the buying habits of customers so that the business can stock appropriate items.
Another example would be utilities companies using Deep Thunder to predict how the weather could affect any repairs and maintenance needed on power lines and how many repair crews are needed in a given location.
Mary Glackin, head of science and forecast operations at The Weather Company, outlined the work the two companies have done to extend their ability to provide weather forecast data.
“The Weather Company has relentlessly focused on mapping the atmosphere, while IBM Research has pioneered the development of techniques to capture very small scale features to boost accuracy at the hyper local level for critical decision making,” she said.
“The new combined forecasting model we are introducing today will provide an ideal platform to advance our signature services of understanding the impacts of weather and identifying recommended actions for all kinds of businesses and industry applications.”
IBM has been very active in using its data analytics technology to tackle the impact of weather, including the creation of software to help emergency services manage the effects of extreme weather.
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