The European Meteorological Society (EMS) has selected the weather forecasting service developed by Yr as the recipient of the EMS Technology Achievement Award 2023.
Yr’s web platform is gives users access to observation data and weather forecasts visualized in different ways. The users are provided with maps and table and graph views of different types of weather data to support different people with different visualization preferences.
Yr has been awarded for the ways it makes weather information available to a wide audience, in particular its nowcast function using citizen science data in the Nordic region and its sky view option, which displays the future weather in a transparent way.
According to EMS, an important part of Yr’s success lies in the fact that it is a product of a collaboration between the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MET Norway). Additionally, the solution makes use of Citizen Science Data, i.e. the Netatmo observations, in the Nordic region, that enables one to refine the forecast at the very local level, and improve the nowcast.
Although the application is limited to Norway only, the committee thought this was a very innovative approach. It is also reportedly computationally intensive, in other words, a large technological challenge. Amateur data is extremely inhomogeneous and of variable quality (sensors placed in the sun, temporarily placed in-house for testing or replacement of batteries, against a warm wall, etc.). Quality checks are therefore very labor intensive and can only be made to work if AI techniques are used.
The committee also stated that it found the “skyview” option interesting in the way it translates the weather as seen from above (satellite, weather map), to the user’s perspective.