Real-time weather forecast now at your fingertips
| Hakim Hayat |
THE Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) IBM Centre announced the development of a cutting-edge weather forecast application based on high resolution modelling that can provide users with real-time and precise weather information at specific locations in Brunei and in the region, yesterday.
The forecasts are generated through a weather model running on an IBM Blue Gene/P, a powerful supercomputer housed at the UBD IBM Centre, which is the only such supercomputer in the entire Asean region. The model currently provides forecasts for temperature, wind speed and precipitation.
Brunei is the only nation in the world that has all the combination of high resolution on a national scale and multi-purpose models for a weather forecast technology.
Sharing this exciting new locally developed technology in an exclusive interview yesterday was Shivkumar Kalyanaraman, Senior Manager, Next to Generation Systems & Smarter Planet Solutions, IBM Research India who has been pioneering the research and development of the project along with other students, staff and researchers in UBD IBM.
Comparing the High-Resolution Weather Forecast to regular ones available today, he said, “What we usually get in a typical weather mobile application or in television and radio is a forecast covering a large region such as districts or the entire Brunei. What we can provide is much more precise information in two ways – one is to go to the precision and space to access weather information by indicating a specific location in Brunei, for instance on top of UBD or the Brunei River.”
The technology can also be especially useful for planning events and outings. “Suppose that we had the Regatta which concluded recently, we can offer precise weather information on the location or other places like golf courses, track paths for nature tourism and even for individual use. The value of high-resolution weather forecast modelling will help you identify the very local phenomena and can track all variances as opposed to giving a single weather forecast for Brunei,” he added.
Demonstrating its use further, Shivkumar said beyond consumer usage it is very powerful for a number of applications. “We provide 48 hour weather forecast at ten-minute intervals at specific locations. We can tell if there is a heavy rainfall and when it will come. Weather indication may vary at different locations in Brunei.
“The High Resolution Weather Forecast models are also connected to ‘hydrological model’ which tells if rain falls on the earth, how it actually floats which can indicate areas prone to flooding,” he said. Exploring the many uses of this technology, Shivkumar said it can be applied to many purposes such as agriculture and energy. “We can tell you how the weather is in crop production or in solar farms to improve efficiency and productivity.”
He highlighted that they are currently working with government agencies such as the Brunei Meteorological Department to calibrate and validate the forecasts and with the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources in crop productivity modelling projects.
He also urged more involvement in technology from Bruneians. “We can start impacting the nation through computer science. As we focus on the research and development, we want SMEs to work with us in the output of our models for many things,” he emphasised.
The website can simply be accessed through a normal mobile or computer web
browser and mobile devices can access the forecasts through a web interface hence there is no need to download and install any separate mobile application.
To obtain the forecasts for a specific location, a user has the option of specifying the location through its name, latitude/longitude or by clicking on the Brunei map. The website currently shows the forecasts for temperature, wind speed and accumulated precipitation every 10 minutes up to next two days.
The website URL is ubdibm.ubd.edu.bn where a link “Click here to try UBD/IBM ‘Deep Thunder Prototype’” is posted on the bottom right of the website to access the service.