Dr. Eric Williford: Senior Scientist,
Head of Operational Forecasting, WeatherPredict Consulting, Inc.
During Andrew, I was in the midst of a Ph.D. program at Florida State University with Dr. T. N. Krishnamurti and was focusing on extra-tropical cyclone development, especially in the Gulf of Mexico. While Andrew wasn’t the determining factor in why I became interested in tropical meteorology, it did surprise me and others in our lab. How did a small tropical system, nearly dissipating in the open Atlantic, become such a tenacious powerhouse and impact Florida and Louisiana so significantly? Andrew did entice me to get more involved in tropical modeling and prediction, especially with regard to how to improve forecasting skills. I worked on numerical modeling and real-time prediction efforts and switched to tropical cyclone prediction for my dissertation topic. From these and other studies, our research group was approached by RenaissanceRe while involved with a study at Risk Prediction Initiative in Bermuda. In collaboration with science leaders at RenaissanceRe, we created a state-of-the-art real-time forecasting platform via a five year research grant between RenaissanceRe and Dr. Krishnamurti’s lab at Florida State.
From these efforts, we developed the Superensemble forecasting technology to improve forecasting skill. This ultimately led to the start of Weather Predict (and eventually, WeatherPredict Consulting Inc., a U.S. affiliate of Renaissance Re Holdings, Ltd.) We today still strive to improve our understanding of risk, including understanding tropical cyclone impacts and increasing forecasting skill, especially with the challenging intensity forecasts. For the past 10 seasons, WPC has provided our real-time North Atlantic, North Eastern Pacific, and North Central Pacific tropical cyclone forecasts to NHC/NOAA to support their forecasting efforts, and we are proud to contribute to their mission of protecting life and property for our country.