Newswise — BOULDER, Colo. — A major new partnership between the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and Skymet Weather Services will provide people across India with more detailed and accurate forecasts.

The $1 million agreement will enable Skymet to use a customized version of DICast®, a cutting-edge automated weather prediction system developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). DICast uses advanced statistical techniques to blend output from different weather models with observations and statistical datasets, generating dynamically tuned predictions for specific sites that are more accurate than those based on a single model and traditional statistical approaches.

This will result in improved forecasts for residents throughout India, including tens of millions of farmers, business executives, and emergency officials. The information will help strengthen business competitiveness while providing vulnerable communities with early warning of floods and other disasters.

"This investment by Skymet is a commitment to the science enabled by UCAR and the role it plays in protecting lives and property in the United States and around the world," said UCAR President Antonio Busalacchi. "We look forward to a long-term and fruitful relationship with Skymet, producing broad benefits to the people of India."

Skymet, based outside New Delhi, provides weather forecasts and graphics to Indian media organizations and customized predictions to the nation's agricultural, insurance, energy, and other vital sectors of its fast-growing economy.

"We're honored to work with UCAR on this very important endeavor, which will enable us to bring the most advanced products and weather services to the people of India," said Jatin Singh, Skymet's founder and CEO. "This agreement provides us access to the best technology in the world. The forecasts that result will save lives and increase the productivity of farmers and businesses."

Singh added that he looks forward to future collaborations with UCAR.

William Mahoney, director of the NCAR lab that developed DICast, said the five-year agreement will enable his team of scientists and engineers to focus on improving forecasts of tropical weather patterns, including monsoons. DICast has been applied globally, but has primarily been used for forecasts in midlatitude regions.

"This opens up research opportunities for better understanding tropical weather patterns," Mahoney said. "It will enable us to expand our support of the U.S. and global weather industry and provide additional benefits to society. "

James Cowie, an NCAR software engineer who helped develop DICast, added that Skymet's extensive observations of atmospheric conditions throughout India will provide important information for future forecasts.

"Skymet has a huge weather observing network in India, and we plan to incorporate their data into the DICast system," Cowie said. "This will improve forecasts of weather conditions -- from a few hours in advance up to more than a week -- and it will enable the forecasts to zoom in on scales of less than 1 kilometer."

Founded in 2003, Skymet is India's largest weather monitoring and agriculture risk solutions company.

UCAR is a nonprofit consortium of 117 colleges and universities focused on research and training in the atmospheric and related sciences. UCAR manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research on behalf of the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.