Rodeo Season

SNR professor competed in Sub-Seasonal Climate Forecast Rodeo

This story was updated on 4/23/2019.

Tony Lupo, professor of atmospheric science in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and Joe Renken, a self-taught meteorologist for KOPN, teamed up for the National Integrated Drought Information System’s (NIDIS) Sub-Seasonal Climate Forecast Rodeo in 2017.

The rodeo began in April of 2017 and continued until April of 2018. Every other week, each team submitted a forecast of the precipitation and temperature for the western United States. Forecasts were made for both the three and four weeks and five and six weeks range and scored based on correlation with the outcome. At the end of the rodeo the top performing teams were awarded a total of $800,000 in prizes.

The Lupoa13 team, comprised of Lupo and Renken, and Joshua Herman of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, were awarded $75,000 based on their method’s second and third place performances in forecasting precipitation for the three-to-four week and five-to-six-week periods, respectively. To be eligible for prize money, teams needed to perform better than the computer model “CFSv2” as well as “DampedPersistence,” a model that uses the previous three to four weeks to predict the following three to four weeks.

“The three-to-six-week time frame has been a long neglected niche,” Lupo said. “Forecasting in this time frame is statistical and would benefit us in agricultural applications, construction, etc.”

Lupo and Renken began their partnership two years ago when Renken approached Lupo about joining together to research the field of long-range forecasting. Their research method looks at the Bering Sea Rule and the Recurring Rossby Wave Train – part of the Organic Forecasting Method developed by Renken and Herman. Their partnership and researching methods were previously highlighted and explained in greater detail last year. 

The rodeo is sponsored by The Bureau of Reclamation, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States Geological Survey and the United States Army Corps of Engineers. A total of 188 research groups from across the globe entered to help improve the field of long-range forecasting. This time frame encompasses the three–to-six-week range and, according to NIDIS, would allow for better preparation for the onset of droughts or other extreme weather events.

Those who wish to see the complete results can check the official contest website. To view how the Lupoa13 team did overall, click here.

The NOAA Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) Office of Weather and Air Quality (OWAQ) Subseasonal to Seasonal (S2S) group, along with the Bureau of Reclamation, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), and the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) have invited the Lupoa13 team to an upcoming symposium as well, where the team will share their rodeo work.