2017 was one of the worst years on record for catastrophic natural disasters, affecting millions of lives and causing billions of dollars in damage. From scorching heat waves in Australia and sustained extreme heat in Europe, to drought and the risk of famine in Somalia and massive floods and landslides in South Asia, the year saw one weather-related disaster after another.
Over 2.5 billion people have been directly affected by major weather events since 2000, and that trend continued in 2017. It was one of the worst years on record for fires, floods, earthquakes and storms, amounting to an estimated $306 billion in damages.
Predict, plan, prepare
While we can’t control the weather, we can take steps to mitigate its effects. We can now combine weather data with rapid advances in technology to help predict, plan, and prepare for weather extremes, and improve our responses to and recovery from the chaos and destruction caused by natural disasters.
Today, as part of the Call for Code Global Initiative, The Weather Company, an IBM business, is for the first time providing the world’s developers with access to a set of Weather APIs that tap into the breadth and depth of the data related to current conditions, forecast, and severe weather data.
Call for Code is an annual global development initiative. It gives the 22 million developers around the world an opportunity to build technology that helps save and improve lives by creating solutions to mitigate the impact of natural disasters. IBM is also providing a complete set of curated cloud, data, AI, and blockchain code patterns that participants can use to build their submissions.
First-ever access to global weather data
And today I’m pleased to share that, for a limited time, we are giving developers who participate in the Call for Code program access to The Weather Company’s services to build their submissions; this marks the first time the APIs have been made available to developers free of charge.
These Weather services are deployed in the cloud to provide weather data feeds globally. These feeds are specifically curated from many weather data sources to enrich business decision making for a variety of industries. Through this program, we will make available, for a limited period of time, the following APIs:
- Data Core: Includes many of the most essential weather APIs, ranging from current conditions and forecasts, radar, and satellite data, including imagery for current conditions and forecasts.
- Enhanced Current Conditions: One of the highest-resolution weather observation networks that is available in the field, based on over 275,000 personal weather stations in addition to traditional sources.
- Enhanced Forecast: The Weather Company’s forecast engine includes leading-edge ensemble model forecasting, expertise from more than 200 meteorologists and related scientists, The Weather Company’s network of observations, radar, and satellite assimilation and modelling capabilities.
- Severe Weather: Including forecasted, real-time, and trailing estimates of severe weather data, protecting a company’s assets by staying one step ahead of adverse weather conditions such as hail, lightning, severe wind, and tornadoes.
By providing limited access to this robust set of APIs, we will enable developers to quickly begin incorporating weather data into emergency management and preparedness response solutions such as:
- Enabling emergency management agencies to more effectively coordinate and manage response efforts during natural disasters, common emergencies, and incidents.
- Alerting health providers and suppliers to optimize staff, as well as their stocks of antibiotics, insulin, bottled water, and vaccines, based on predicted weather-related disruptions.
- Employing analytics to predict the impact of weather in certain locations and prepare communities on how to get ready for an impending disaster.
- Optimizing supply and demand by mitigating weather-related supply chain risks.
- Enabling health payers and insurance companies to provide an essential and truly differentiated response to extreme weather events, including hail, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes.
Make a difference
Get started today by registering for a Weather API key and viewing the documentation. You can also discuss the APIs on the Call for Code community forums. And be sure to check out the complete set of additional curated cloud, data, AI, and blockchain code patterns that IBM is making available for participants to build their submissions.
The Weather Company strives to inform and protect people and businesses when it matters most. We help them make better decisions before, during, and after severe weather-related disasters. We have built relationships with organizations such as the American Red Cross and FEMA to help spread awareness of local resources for impacted citizens, first-responder operations, and other ways to help.
We provide accurate and timely news, forecasts, and information through the web, mobile apps, and APIs to help people and businesses stay informed. With the goal of building a safer planet in mind, The Weather Channel app now offers Mesh Network Alerts globally to ensure you receive notifications even if cell or internet service is compromised.
We hope you’ll take part in the Call for Code and take full advantage of the Weather APIs being made available. We’re committed to helping you deliver the best solutions possible to mitigate disaster risk, and to helping all of us build a better future. Together.