August 14, 2019
Is a cloud about to burst in your immediate vicinity? Now there’s an easy and accurate way to find out.
ClimaCell, a four-year-old weather technology company based in Boston, “is on a mission to map all of the weather data in the world—and to become the “default microweather platform of the emerging technology.”
The firm—founded by a team of former military officers from the Harvard Business School and MIT Sloan—launched its weather app on August 12, offering meteorological notifications for exact locations in more than 50 countries.
But how does the company provide such on-target, on-time forecasts?
ClimaCell has developed a global network of weather data that marries traditional observations of pressure, temperature, precipitation and wind with information drawn from wireless signals, satellites, connected cars, airplanes, street cameras, drones and other electronic sources, the Post reports. Millions of pieces of weather data can be derived from these technologies. It’s what the company describes as the “weather of things” (versus “the Internet of things).
This mix of data is fed into ClimaCell’s forecast models, operated in Boulder, Colorado The company created the NowCast model that gives highly specific, minute-by-minute forecasts out to six hours—as well as a longer-term model, known as CBAM, that produces forecasts out to six days.
These models are designed to provide forecasts to help businesses solve problems in which “extra accuracy” is needed, according to CE0 Shimon Elkabetz.
Many of the weather companies operating today, founded in the 1960s and 1970s, just take model forecasts from different governments, blend them, and use statistical techniques to try to make them better. But ClimaCell is creating its forecasts from scratch.
ClimaCell has also created a software platform that allows its forecasts to be optimized and tuned to customers’ needs. Elkabetz said it can generate forecast output for any weather variable of interest, at any location and at different degrees of specificity.
The forecasts are updated or “refreshed” constantly, which is the “best way” to increase their accuracy, according to Daniel Rothenberg, ClimaCell’s chief scientist. “In our U.S. precipitation NowCast, we refresh [the forecast] end to end in under five minutes,” he told The Washington Post.
By comparison, the U.S. government model used for short-range precipitation prediction, known as the HRRR (high-resolution rapid refresh model) updates hourly.
To date, the company has worked with airlines, energy, and on-demand transportation companies, and even with the New England Patriots. JetBlue, initially a customer, was so impressed by the results that it became an investor.
“We’re trying to become the leading private company in the weather space,” Elkabetz said.
The app is available on the AppStore for iOS devices, and an Android version is to be launched in September. The app is free and does not contain advertisements, but ClimaCell does plan to charge for certain features, such as notifications for precipitation beyond a certain time.
Research contact: @ClimaCell