Federal agencies partner to spur innovation in snowpack forecast

Federal agencies partner to spur innovation in snowpack forecast

The Bureau of Reclamation has is partnered with Bonneville Power Administration, NASA – Goddard Space Flight Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Geological Survey, National Center for Atmospheric Research, DrivenData, HeroX, Ensemble and NASA Tournament Lab to launch a new prize competition for improved snowpack water forecast techniques throughout the West.

The Snowcast Showdown challenges participants to present “innovative methods of estimating snow water equivalent (SWE).” Developing better techniques to determine the amount of water stored as snowpack provides water managers more accurate information to make better water management decisions.

“Our technology must advance to meet the particular challenges of climate change and extreme weather,” said Greg Lipstein, Principal at DrivenData. “These kinds of Challenges channel the efforts of skilled experts around the world to push forward the tools available to our nation’s public agencies and water managers.”

The competition is split into two tracks. In the Prediction Competition Track, participants develop a model and calibrate it using historical information. The effectiveness and accuracy of the test model will be evaluated during the winter and spring using real-time snowpack measurements. The Model Report Competition is a model analysis competition. Models in the first track are eligible to submit a report that discusses their solution and approaches to solving the problem in track one.

To learn more, visit https://www.usbr.gov/research/challenges/swe.html.

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