New sources of atmospheric observations, faster supercomputers and advances in weather science together have revolutionized weather forecasting in the latter part of the 20th century. On the global scale, we can today predict out to six days ahead as accurately as we could do for four days 20 years ago.
This means society has much more advance warning of weather hazards than before, allowing people to prepare and, thereby, limit the loss of lives and property.
As weather science advances, critical questions are arising such as about the possible sources of predictability on weekly, monthly and longer time-scales; seamless prediction; the development and application of new observing systems; the effective utilization of massively-parallel supercomputers; the communication, interpretation, and application of weather-related information; and the quantification of the societal impacts. The science is primed for a step forward informed by the realization that there can be predictive power on all space and time-scales arising from currently poorly-understood sources of potential predictability.
Consequently the time was right in 2014 for a major Open Science Conference to examine the rapidly changing scientific and socio-economic drivers of weather science. This conference was designed to draw the whole research community together to review the frontiers of knowledge and to act as an international stimulus for the science and its future. The first World Weather Open Science Conference (WWOSC-2014 “The weather: what’s the outlook?”) was held in Montréal, Canada from 16 to 21 August 2014.