Yr weather forecasting service

Yr, a sophisticated weather forecasting service developed by Yr, was  selected for the EMS Technology Achievement Award 2023 for the ways it makes weather information available to a wide audience worldwide: it stands out for the nowcast function using citizen science data in the Nordic region and its sky view option which displays the future weather in a very transparent way.

The web platform is used to give users access to observation data and weather forecasts visualised in different ways. The users are provided with maps, table- and graph-views of different types of weather data because it is known that different people prefer different visualisations. The same ambition is true for the native apps that are a simpler version of the website.

An important part of Yr’s success lies in the fact that it is a product of a collaboration between the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MET Norway).

There are many websites and apps, providing weather forecasts in a very user friendly way. Yr stands out because of two things:

  • It makes use of so-called Citizen Science Data, i.e. the Netatmo observations, in the Nordic region, that enables one to refine the forecast at the very local level, and improve the nowcast. Although the application is limited to Norway only, the committee thought this was a very innovative approach. And it is very computationally intensive, in other words a large technological challenge. Amateur data are extremely inhomogeneous and of variable quality (sensors placed in the sun, temporarily placed inhouse for testing or replacement of batteries, against a warm wall, etc, etc.).  Quality checks are therefore very labour intensive and can only be made to work if special Artificial Intelligence techniques are being used.
  • The “skyview” option is very interesting. It translates the weather as seen from above (satellite, weather map), to the user’s perspective.