How the weather forecaster job is changing: from atmospheric scientist to top manager and climate strategist
We always end up talking about the weather: nowadays during big multinational board meetings too. And obviously it is not to make polite conversation, but to play for 500 billion dollar stakes. At least this is the estimate global yearly spending framed by Unep (United Nations Environment Program) from now up to 2050 to protect the planet from the effects of climatic changes and promote transition to a low emission industrial and transport system. Awaiting to know whether advanced countries will put their hand in their pocket to make these investments, the private sector tunes in to ‘high in the sky objects’ channels, engaging weather managers to support the core business. «Food industry is the most exposed among all sections, and it is investing a huge amount of money in meteorology services», says Giampiero Maracchi, climatologist and president of the Georgofili Association. «Climatic changes put cultivation at risk. An unexpected drought or flood is enough to rocket farm commodity prices. Having weather forecast professionals at their side is essential for food industry to direct their investments».
Predictive analysis of the events becomes a crucial asset for food industry, but not only for it. In the United States two meteorological companies out of three cooperate with energy firms which need to be confident about the weather forecast or to anticipate the weather risk to plan their investments in photovoltaic and windpower, in oil rigs and in hydroelectricity. The weather multinational AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions claims to cooperate with about half the companies in the 500 Fortune list, the biggest multinationals of the planet. The weather manager is entering the large-scale retail trade too (WalMart, for example) joining in the tricky supply chain, to anticipate big tv sales on rainy days and the probable indifference to barbecues.The big express carriers, the global conveyer belt masters that deal with quality goods expected to reach their addressees quickly have outstanding staff of meteorologists to direct cargo routes according to the weather forecast. Business weather intelligence, that is the skill to interpret millions of data collected by weather stations, smartphones, driverless cars and sensors aboard planes will be the next big step. This is in the line of study scientists from the Climatology Research Center of Reno, Nevada, are focusing their efforts on. And in the meantime a giant like Ibm has embarked on a takeover that has attracted a lot of attention, the acquisition of Weather Company assets, including the one thousand employees who are Big Data atmosphere experts. Because there is no time for delay about risks of climate change.