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Frequently Asked Questions

Here's where you'll find all the answers to your questions about the science of Planette's gap forecasting, ENSO forecasts, Umi™, Sura™ and the Planette platform.

Planette Forecasting FAQs

Planette Platform FAQs

 

El Niño FAQs

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Planette Forecasts

How is it even possible to forecast at seasonal, quarterly, annual, or multi-annual time horizons?

Seasonal, quarterly, annual, and decadal weather prediction is a relatively new area of Earth system science, developed incrementally over the last 15 years. At these time horizons, the state of the ocean and its predictability enables Planette to predict conditions for key environmental variables over land masses.

How is this different from weather forecasting?

Weather forecasts generally allow for predictability of meteorology up to 14 days into the future, based on a set of initial meteorological conditions. Planette's precision forecasts, on the other hand, allow for predictability over much longer time horizons because we harness the predictability of the ocean. While we cannot tell you on what day an extreme weather event will happen in the future, we can tell you the probability of such an event for a given month, up to 60 months (5 years) in the future.

Why isn’t NOAA, NASA, or some other Federal Agency already doing this?

These federal agencies primarily focus on advancing scientific research, not providing actionable data for businesses. In fact, NOAA does provide coarse seasonal and annual outlooks for temperature and precipitation, but these forecasts don’t include extremes, and don’t extend beyond the continental U.S., making their usability limited for business purposes.

How do you know that Planette forecasts are accurate?

Planette's science team assesses forecast quality by evaluating how well our model predicts the past (backtests of the forecasting workflow, also known as "hindcasts"). Our hindcasts show that our model is 80% accurate over the globe (for 1-year forecasts of temperature), and over 90% accurate over many regions. We share these hindcasts to establish trust - so that potential clients themselves can evaluate whether our forecasts are sufficiently accurate for their business needs.

How does Planette achieve these amazing forecasting results?

AI is revolutionizing weather forecasting, and we know that it can also revolutionize seasonal, annual, and decadal forecasting. AI and ML have the power to find non-intuitive patterns where traditional methods fail. Planette uses patent-pending AI algorithms to improve and accelerate forecast production from physics-based models.  This allows us to create incredibly accurate forecasts at a fraction of the computational cost of traditional physics-based modelling approaches.

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Planette Platform

How do I get access to the Planette web application?

Please contact sales@planette.ai for a free trial or access to the Planette web application.

How do I create an organization account?

Please contact sales@planette.ai so we can create an organization account for you.

I want to access Umi. How do I get it?

There are two ways to get access: You can contact sales@planette.ai or sign up online.

I have access to the web application as an administrator. How do I add more users?

Once the account has been created for your organization, the users in your organization can sign up directly through our signup page.

I tried to sign up directly on the web application signup page, but it says I need an organization account. How do I get one?

Please contact sales@planette.ai for a free trial or access to Planette web application. They can create an organization account for you.

I tried to sign up on the web application signup page, but it says the organization has reached the maximum limit of user licenses. What should I do?

This means you have reached the maximum number of users this license allows for your organization. Please contact sales@planette.ai to increase the number of users for your license or contact support@planette.ai to swap user licenses.

I'm having issues with the login. What should I do?

Please contact support@planette.ai.

I'm having issues with Umi. Who should I contact?

Please contact support@planette.ai.

I love my free trial! I want to upgrade my account. How do I upgrade it?

Click the 'Upgrade Now' button on the Planette web application or contact sales@planette.ai with your specific request.

I'm not able to click on my subscriptions on the web application home page.

It means your free trial has ended, or you do not have access to those subscriptions. Please contact sales@planette.ai to continue getting access.

I love Umi! But I want forecasts that are specific to my region. What should I do?

That means it’s time for Sura™! Sura™ is our premium global forecasting system, made possible by the latest Earth system models and generative AI. Sura™ provides high-accuracy forecasts with up to 25-km resolution, covering the globe. Sura™ is officially launching in September 2024.

 

Add yourself to our I Want Sura™ list today!

When can I get Sura™?

We’re excited to announce that Sura is officially launching in September 2024.

Add yourself to our I Want Sura™ list today

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El Niño, La Niña, and ENSO

What is El Niño?

El Niño is a key part of the El Niño - Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the most important mode of ‘interannual variability in the Earth system’ – meaning that it’s the single most important factor that drives year-to-year ups and downs in the Earth’s weather.  Though the center of action of ENSO is in the tropical Pacific Ocean, it affects environmental conditions around the world through teleconnections (connections between really distant regions due to giant atmospheric and oceanic waves that move energy across the planet).  Year-to-year ups and downs in temperature, precipitation, and winds, as well as the incidence of severe weather (including hurricanes, tornadoes, and intense rainfall) are all linked to ENSO.

What causes El Niño or La Niña?

ENSO is caused by interactions between the atmosphere and ocean in the equatorial Pacific.  In this region, trade winds usually blow over the surface ocean from east to west, drawing up cool water from the deep ocean.  This creates a cold, nutrient-rich ‘tongue’ of water that covers a huge area of the equatorial Pacific Ocean, from the coast of South America, extending a couple thousand miles westward to the center of the Pacific Ocean.  

 

Sometimes, these trade winds speed up and this cold tongue grows much bigger – it can even extend nearly all the way across the equatorial Pacific (literally halfway across the planet), from South America to the Solomon Islands (close to Papua New Guinea).  This is a La Niña event – basically an intensification of the usual equatorial Pacific cold tongue.  

 

But when these trade winds slow down or even stop, cold water no longer rises up from the deep, and this whole area can suddenly become very warm.  This is an El Niño event.  This sudden switch from cold to warm causes major disruptions: fisheries off of Peru collapse for the year since there’s no more nutrient-rich water at the surface; rainfall shifts away from the equatorial West Pacific, which is usually a warm and wet area, to the Central Pacific, leading to droughts over SE Asia and Oceania; and huge waves ripple from the equatorial West Pacific Ocean to far reaches of the planet, disturbing temperature and precipitation patterns around the globe, including the Brazilian Amazon, Indian subcontinent, and African Sahel.

What’s up with El Niño flavors?

There are different ‘flavors’ of El Niño, just like there are different flavors of ice cream.  For example, there is the canonical El Niño, where the warm tongue of water extends from South America, but there’s also Modoki El Niño, where the warm tongue of water only extends over the central Pacific.  The prevalence of these two flavors (canonical versus Madoki) may have changed over the last several thousand years, though this is still the subject of scientific debate.

What’s a Super El Niño?

A Super El Niño is like an extreme version of El Niño.  It occurs when the Niño 3.4 index is greater than 2.0, meaning that temperatures over the equatorial Pacific are much, much warmer than the norm.  The impacts of a Super El Niño are much greater than a run-of-the-mill El Niño – much larger disturbances to temperature and precipitation patterns around the world, and even more extreme weather.  We’ve just emerged from a Super El Niño today; the last one before that was in 2015/16.  Whenever we get these Super El Niño events against a backdrop of a warming planet, we tend to see record-breaking heat, as El Niño usually leads to warmer-than-average global temperatures.

What is the Niño 3.4 Index?

This index describes the ENSO state – are conditions like El Niño, La Niña, or neutral?  This index is calculated by measuring ocean temperatures in an enormous box covering the central equatorial Pacific Ocean.  

  • When the Niño 3.4 Index is less than -0.5, it means that we’re in a La Niña state.

  • When the Niño 3.4 Index is greater than 0.5, it means that we’re in an El Niño state.

  • When the Niño 3.4 Index is between -0.5 and 0.5, it means that we’re in a neutral state. 

How often does ENSO flip between El Niño, La Niña, and neutral conditions?

Flips generally occur between 1 to 3 years, which gives ENSO a periodicity of 2 to 6 years (e.g. the time it takes to go from one El Niño, to a La Niña, and to another El Niño). 

Why is forecasting El Niño important?

ENSO is responsible for a lot of the year-to-year volatility in the Earth system. So predicting it well gives governments and businesses the opportunity to mitigate risks, saving lives and billions in property losses.  Just a 1% improvement in the skill of ENSO predictions translates to (at least) $12B in global savings from reducing exposure. 

What does ENSO mean for my business?

It depends on what industry you’re in, but if you’re in any industry that’s vulnerable to the elements, like agriculture, energy, insurance, logistics, and commodities markets, ENSO doubtlessly affects you. In fact, the last 2 major El Niño events have each been linked to $5T USD in economic losses globally, mostly within environmentally vulnerable industries.

 

On the other hand, knowing what ENSO state is on the way can provide the information needed to assess risk and ways to deal with this risk, like making plans to mitigate risk, transfer risk, and/or hedge risk through capital markets.

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