Flexible and scalable solutions for climate smart forecasting

Farmer at work under storm

Credit: DEBOVE SOPHIE/GettyImages

Improved access to seasonal weather data is allowing farmers and growers to significantly cut down on the amount of valuable produce lost through wastage.

SME Weather Logistics, working with the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Hartree Centre, made the advances having gained funding from STFC’s Bridging for Innovators programme.

Weather Logistics has developed a forecast system built on numerical weather prediction data from the Copernicus Climate Data Store. This allows large grower co-operatives to optimise crop development that could help reduce the wastage of perishable crops with estimated savings of up to £20 million for lettuce growers.

To refine and validate their forecasts, Weather Logistics’ objective was to run 24 years of historic climate data on the Hartree Centre’s high performance computing (HPC) facilities and optimise their existing codebase.

The team parallelised the existing code to make it run faster, handling larger datasets more easily and improving the quality of forecasts. Refactoring the code (reconstructing code without changing its external behaviour) made it easier to navigate, maintain and sustain.

This work helped deliver more accurate weather forecasts by refining existing algorithms and demonstrating the added value of local short and long-term forecasts for farming communities. The software engineering work provided flexibility to update the codebase more easily in future and the modular approach reduced
the risk of breaking code in future development cycles.

As a result of this engagement, the team were able to offer a scalable solution to the company going forward enabling access to cloud computing resources on demand.

Last updated: 11 March 2021

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