Presented by BeMyApp

The first ‘Summer of Weather Code’,  an online program run by the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) has just finished. The outcomes of this innovation program are truly novel, producing creative solutions to solve important weather-related software challenges.

The program has exploited the potential of ECMWF’s extensive data archive and in-house software. Meteorology enthusiasts, start-ups, data scientists, and software developers were invited to team up with ECMWF mentors to work on innovative weather-related software. 240 people from all over the world submitted applications to the 13 proposed challenges. Five teams were selected to work on their proposals which completed would guarantee a grant worth £5000.

From May to August, the five selected teams worked together with their ECMWF mentors on:

  • a GIS widget based on Leaflet
  • a web crawler for environmental data
  • a code migration to Python
  • the representation of NetCDF files as a virtual file system
  • Innovative Visualizations.

Their work terminated with the release of five open-source projects available either on Github or Bitbucket.  The final project outcomes were presented during a week of webinars from September 17th to 21st. And you can still catch the webinar recordings which are available on ECMWF’s YouTube channel.

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Get more information about the five projects participants were working on:

GIS widget

The enhanced GIS widget is useful for many web applications, for example the real-time data requirements-editing interface to customize data download and online costing tools, where users calculate the costs of their data and configure the requirements. Any other online applications where users need to specify latitude/longitude locations or bounding boxes can also benefit from this widget.

The widget is based on Leaflet (a javascript library for interactive maps) and provides different tools, e.g. selecting and displaying bounding boxes and points, perform geo-searches, and inputting data on the map.

NetCDF as a file system

This tool, written in Python, allows those working with weather and climate data in NetCDF format to easily  mount, view, and edit the contents of a NetCDF dataset using file-system  operations and general purpose Unix tools. The software is potentially useful for anyone working with weather and climate data in NetCDF format and who wants to quickly explore and edit a dataset.

Migration of calibration software

The challenge was to migrate an existing code of the calibration software “ecPoint-Cal” into Python and develop a user-friendly GUI for the software. The software compares numerical model outputs against point observations to identify biases/errors at local scale. The migrated software is a dynamic environment while the GUI makes it more user-friendly and increases its uptake.

Web crawler

The web crawler for environmental data substitutes a time-consuming manual search for new data sources. The developed software automates the discovery, analysis, and assessment of candidate web pages and is able to search in different languages. The resulting data can be used to improve global predictive weather forecasting models.

Innovative visualisations

A novel graphical presentation of multiple weather variables for a particular location which includes information about the uncertainty associated to weather forecasts in a more accessible manner to non-expert audiences. The visualization has been developed with value-suppressing uncertainty (VSU) icons which facilitate visual communication of uncertainty in weather forecasts.

The Summer of Weather Code program will go into its second edition in 2019. Applications will open in January 2019 and the coding phase will start in May 2019.

Claire Pumpelly is the managing editor for the EMEA in the the global communications team at BeMyApp.

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