/ Modified jun 23, 2021 2:53 p.m.

Game challenges forecasters to predict monsoon

UA researchers created an online competition similar to fantasy football.

Monsoon Game Predicting monsoon rainfall is not an exact science, yet.
Mitchell Riley/AZPM

A University of Arizona environmental researcher is making the outcome of this year's monsoon a literal guessing game.

Zack Guido and his colleagues in the UA's Institutes for Resilience put together an online competition similar to basketball's March Madness and fantasy sports. The game challenges players to predict how much rain will be produced by the monsoon.

Guido expects several participants will likely be professional prognosticators loaded with previous monsoon data, and some will be amateur backyard meteorologists.

"Yeah we have other people I'm sure who will say, well, last monsoon season was really dry, it can't be that dry, so I'm going to bet on a wetter forecast this year," he said.

Guido notes the objective is for players to predict monsoon rainfall in five southwestern cities.

"Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Albuquerque and El Paso. And they do it each month and they score points based on their accuracy and riskiness, and at the end of the three months we'll have some winners."

Climatologists say the monsoon is virtually unpredictable no matter how much previous information you've collected. The contest winner will receive an automated weather station for their home.

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