FSU Superensemble May Save Us This Summer

Jun 5, 2018

Hurricane Season begins on June 1st and lasts until November 30th.
Credit NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting a 70 percent chance of Florida receiving between 5 to 9 hurricanes this season. The forecast is predicted with the help of the National Hurricane Center, whose primary hurricane data comes from Florida State University’s Superensemble system.

Developed by the late T.N. Krishnamurti, the Florida State University Superensemble was created in 1998. Jon Ahlquist, associate professor in the Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Pressure at FSU, calls this system a ‘forecast recipe’ for predicting weather.

“This is the way that Dr. Krishnamurti used, is to say ‘Let me partner with major centers that are already producing forecasts: United States, Europe, Canada,” said Ahlquist. “And I will get their forecasts.’ Now what makes it special is how he combined the various forecasts.”

Krishnamurti combined the forecasts based on the accuracy of their previous year’s predictions. Those with obvious biases in predictions would be weighted based on their model’s performance. For example, if a station consistently predicted less rainfall than what would actually happen, it receives less weight in the final forecast. If a station repeatedly produced fairly accurate forecasts, it is given more weight. Using this method for hurricane prediction, the FSU Superensemble is known as one of the most accurate storm forecast systems internationally.