Kevin Petty: November 29, 2019

IBM Announces New Weather System to Revolutionize Forecasting Globally


IBM’S Global High-resolution Atmospheric Forecasting System Aims to Transform Weather Forecasting to Help People, Businesses and Communities Make Better Decisions



Kevin Petty

Director of Science and Forecasting Operations, Public-Private Partnerships at IBM’s The Weather Company


How often do you check the weather? Four out of five consumers say they check the weather every day. But where does weather data come from, and how can weather forecasting improve for consumers and businesses alike?


Weather forecasts are powered by a convergence of data, super computing power and numerical models. What most people might not know is that not all forecasts are created equal. Outside of the U.S., Japan, and some Western European countries, weather predictions lack resolution, or they cover areas of land that are too large to effectively capture some weather phenomena, and are only updated approximately every six to 12 hours.


For The Weather Company, an IBM Business, marrying the power of supercomputing technology with weather forecasting means we can now contribute new levels of insight to consumers and businesses around the world. With the launch of IBM’s new global high-resolution atmospheric forecasting system (IBM GRAF), IBM and The Weather Company will now provide the most precise local weather forecasts ever seen, worldwide.


IBM and our partners have been building IBM GRAF for several months and working on the concept of modeling weather in a new way. With this new weather system, IBM believes both people and businesses will be able to make better and more-informed decisions. Take agriculture, where unreliable forecasts keep farmers from making a good living, negatively impact food supplies on a local and even global scale, and leave people and livestock in harm’s way during natural disasters. Improved weather forecasts can help mitigate extreme weather – not watering crops ahead of heavy rains or timing planting based on wind patterns – and help farmers create more informed decisions on their harvests.

There are applications for IBM GRAF across a number of industries from insurance, to retail, to broadcasters, to airlines and more. For consumers, the predictions from the new system are available to people via The Weather Channel and Weather Underground apps and websites, and to businesses via IBM offerings.

On Friday November 15th IBM’s Director of Science and Forecasting Operations Kevin Petty, will be available to discuss the launch of IBM’s newest forecast tool, what the future of weather forecasting looks like, and, importantly, what it means for businesses and consumers.



Kevin Petty, Director of Science And Forecasting Operations, Public-Private Partnerships At IBM’s The Weather Company


Kevin Petty is the director of science and forecasting and head of public-private partnerships for The Weather Company, an IBM Business delivering weather and climate services globally. He oversees research and development for weather solutions and is responsible for forecasting operations, including a global team of meteorologists across IBM’s The Weather Company. Petty also manages the company’s relationships with members of the national and global weather enterprise that includes government agencies, academia, and other private-sector providers.


Petty spends time interacting with the weather and climate enterprise to help create collaborations and foster community. He is a committee member of the Environmental Information Services Working Group (EISWG) for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and serves as a member of the dean’s advisor board for Colorado State University’s College of Engineering. An American Meteorological Society (AMS) Fellow, he is also a steering committee member of the Commission on the Weather Water and Climate Enterprise for the AMS. He regularly speaks and publishes on weather and climate topics. Petty graduated with a Ph.D. and master’s degree in atmospheric science from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Illinois College.


Produced for: IBM

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