The Weather Company (TWC) will leverage parent company IBM’s Watson IoT platform to provide critical weather data to governments and businesses in underserved areas to better prepare for impending disasters.
TWC’s subsidiary Weather Underground has developed the Personal Weather Station (PWS) Network, which consists of over 200,000 weather stations in 195 countries.
Armed with multiple sensors to detect barometric pressure, humidity, temperature, wind speed and direction, and other measurements, TWC hopes to use these weather stations to provide localised forecasts for millions of people around the world.
The PWS Network integrates with the Watson IoT platform to provide cognitive computing power to weather predictions.
Weather Underground is also collaborating with various local meteorological and government organisations to donate 100 personal weather stations in areas it says “where they may be most beneficial based on population density, web connectivity, current infrastructure gaps, and exposure to unique severe weather challenges.”
Santiago, Chile and Vizag, India have been earmarked as among the first cities to receive these weather stations as part of IBM’s philanthropic Smarter Cities Challenge venture.
The company hopes to use data collected by these stations to augment official infrastructures, and combined with severe weather warnings and alerts issued by each nation’s meteorological agencies, will help local communities take measures to remain safe during hazardous weather conditions.
TWC also envisages the PWS Network and its cognitive capabilities will help to develop new systems and applications for things such as precision agriculture for emerging and developing markets.
For example, Weather Underground will deploy more than 300 personal weather stations across Kenya, Nigeria and other African nations in conjunction with the Trans-African HydroMeteorological Observatory to help improve irrigation and agricultural resource management, as well as provide climate insights for aviation, power, insurance and other service industries in these countries.
Mary Glackin, TWC’s head of science and forecast operation, and SVP for public-private partnerships, said in a statement: “We are committed to continuing to improve the accuracy of our forecast and working in concert with national meteorological services toward our goal of providing every person on the planet with the weather forecast information they need to be safe and prepared in the face of weather.”