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Reclamation launches forecast prize competition

  • Reclamation launches forecast prize competition
    Reclamation is seeking to improve the three to six week temperature and precipitation forecast.
  • Forecast improvement is sought in the three-to-four and five-to-six-week forecasts to provide water managers more time to prepare for the onset of drought or wet weather extremes

About the entity

Bureau of Reclamation
Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits.


The Bureau of Reclamation is launching a new prize competition, Sub-seasonal Climate Forecast Rodeo II. It builds upon an earlier prize competition to advance temperature and precipitation forecasts for the three-to-four and five-to-six-week periods. Skillful sub-seasonal forecasting 15 to 45 days in the future has proven difficult because it bridges short-term forecasting, where initial conditions primarily determine upcoming weather, and long-term forecasting, where slowly varying factors such as sea surface temperatures and soil moisture become more important.

"While we learned a lot and saw an improvement in these sub-seasonal climate forecast in the first competition, more can be done," said Reclamation Science Advisor David Raff, PhD. "Advancements in forecasts will allow Reclamation and its partners make more informed water management decisions."

The contest consists of two parts, a marathon match beginning in July with solvers submitting a hindcast for a set period of historical temperature and precipitation data followed by a year-long series of data science sprints with solvers submitting forecasts every two weeks and scored against real-time forecasts.

Reclamation is continuing its partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Integrated Drought Information System for this competition. The competition is being managed by TopCoder and HeroX. You can learn more at:

This prize competition supports the President's Memorandum on Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West through improving forecasts of water availability.

Since 2015, Reclamation has been conducting prize competitions to spur innovation by engaging a non-traditional, national solver community while also complementing traditional research in their design to target the most persistent science and technology challenges. It has awarded more than $1,000,000 in prizes and has launched 20 competitions. Please visit Reclamation's Water Prize Competition Center to learn more.

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