IBM’s The Weather Company Continues to Be the World’s Most Accurate Forecaster Overall

IBM and its subsidiary The Weather Company, which includes The Weather Channel digital properties, were determined to be “the overall most accurate provider globally” by ForecastWatch, a premier organization for evaluating the accuracy of weather forecasts.

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In its latest comprehensive study of forecast accuracy released today,ii Global and Regional Weather Forecast Accuracy Overview, 2017-2020, commissioned by IBM, ForecastWatch named IBM’s The Weather Company as the weather forecast provider whose forecasts overall were the most accurate globally when aggregated across all geographic regions compared and time periods covered. Further, the data showed that the gap between The Weather Company (noted as The Weather Channel in the report) and the next best overall provider has increased every year of the study.iii

“A forecast is most helpful when it comes from a recognized, trusted source, and the pursuit of accuracy is at the foundation of what we seek to provide to help customers, consumers and marketers to make important decisions every day,” said Sheri Bachstein, CEO of The Weather Company and GM of IBM Watson Advertising. “The study is evidence of how IBM is helping advance the science of weather forecasting through continued innovations in AI, data and cloud computing.”

The report is a comprehensive weather forecast accuracy study spanning four years, 1,424 global locations across eight regions of the world, and 84 different accuracy metrics covering precipitation, temperature, cloud cover and wind forecast variables. ForecastWatch analyzed about 140 million forecasts from 17 different weather providers. Each provider was noted each time it finished in first place for each metric, and according to the report, “The Weather Channel recorded the most first-place finishes globally for every year and every time period” of the providers compared.

The Weather Company forecasts are created by IBM and distributed via the IBM Cloud across The Weather Channel app and weather.com, Weather Underground app and wunderground.com, as well as weather products for IBM enterprise clients.

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Major highlights and findings of the report for compared providers averaged over the study period and all forecast days include:

  • The Weather Company is the overall most accurate forecast provider globally.
  • The Weather Company was 3.5x more likely to be the most accurate of any other provider studied.i
  • This gap between The Weather Company and other weather providers studied has increased every year of the study.iii
  • The Weather Company is the most accurate provider most often in each region compared, including the U.S., CanadaCentral AmericaSouth AmericaEuropeAfricaMiddle East and Asia-Pacific. iii

Industry Leading Accuracy Built on Science, AI, and Tech

Artificial intelligence is a critical tool for meteorologists to make sense of billions of unstructured weather data points produced by satellites, ground sensors, radars, and more. With advanced machine learning algorithms and computing power from IBM, meteorologists at The Weather Company can use this data to simulate atmospheric conditions and better anticipate the weather forecast.

Continued investment and innovation at IBM have allowed its team of meteorologists and experts to develop technologies that put The Weather Company ahead in overall accuracy, such as:

  • A forecasting engine that uses AI to integrate input from nearly 100 forecast models around the world, weighing factors from each model based on geography, time, weather type and recent forecast accuracy. The system then blends those weighted contributions to arrive at a single synthesized forecast that provides the best possible accuracy available for any location when requested, on demand.
  • A significant breakthrough in global weather forecasting with the 2019 launch of IBM GRAF (Global High-Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting), the first hourly-updating global weather model able to predict something as small as a thunderstorm.
  • Global radar leadership thanks to one of the world’s largest assimilations of weather radar data and technologies such as AI to use that data effectively.
  • On-demand assessment of both current and forecast weather conditions from proprietary technology at The Weather Company.
  • A state-of-the-science marriage of weather content with both AI and human forecaster interaction, proprietary technology called “human over the loop” forecasting.

Forecast Accuracy Helps Inform Businesses, People and Marketers

The Weather Company, the world’s leading weather provider,iv delivers more than 25 billion forecasts every day to more than two billion devices. The Weather Channel has been named a top 5 most trusted consumer brand in the U.S.v The Weather Channel app was even recognized by the World Meteorological Organization’s 2020 International Weather App Awards for usefulness, reliability and quality of information.vi

The accuracy of forecasts within IBM’s weather products is critical not only for keeping consumers informed, but also for delivering AI for business to marketers, though IBM Watson Advertising, and to customers across industries to help them prepare for and respond to weather.

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