Forecast Rodeo 2 marathon challenge series concludes with $80,000 in prizes for improved temperature and precipitation forecasts

Winners in four areas provided temperature and precipitation forecasts that exceeded baseline forecasts

Written by: Peter Soeth

Clouds in the sky.
Clouds in the sky.
The first winners in the Forecast Rodeo 2 prize competition were determined after six weeks of competition. The top 10 winners in each of the four concurrent marathon matches will share $80,000 in prize money for their ideas. The top five marathon match winners in each category may be seen at

"Reclamation is excited by the results and participation in the first part of this prize competition," said Reclamation Science Advisor David Raff. "We look forward to the results of the next stage to see how the solvers have improved these specific forecasts."

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. Reclamation is seeking improvements to these forecasts to make more informed water management decisions.

The next phase of this prize competition will begin in a few weeks. It will consist of two-week sprints that will compare the competitor's forecasts in temperature and precipitation for the 3-to-4 and 5-to-6-week periods against NOAA’s forecast and a Rodeo 1 winning forecast in each of the four categories. Prizes will be paid based upon bi-weekly performance, quarterly performance, and overall performance for the year-long competition. Over $700,000 is available for prizes. Specific award amounts for quarterly and overall performance may vary based upon solvers being able to outperform, on average, benchmarks forecasts.

Additional information on the two-week sprint competitions can be found here

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.

To learn more about this and other prize competitions, please visit

Published on September 26, 2019