University News

WIU Professor Places Again in National Forecasting Competition

November 12, 2019

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University Meteorology Associate Professor Marcus Büker placed second in a recent meteorological forecast competition, called WxChallenge, forecasting for the city of Columbus, OH. This is the fourth time since 2012 Büker has won an award in the competition. 
During the event, Büker regularly competes against over 1,000 forecasters from universities from across the nation. The competition promotes excellence in forecasting and requires forecasters from higher education institutions from the United States and Canada to predict the high and low temperature, maximum sustained wind speed, and total precipitation from select locations across the United States.
The annual online competition runs for 10 weeks in the fall semester and 10 weeks in the spring semester. There is an additional three-week tournament following the end of the spring semester for the top 64 forecasters. 
Scoring of forecasts is done by assessing error points based on the degree of accuracy between the forecasts and the verified meteorological measurements.
"It takes a combination of forecasting skill, experience and a bit of luck to get an award like this," said Büker. "The margin of error is very small. I won second place by 1.3 error points. Had Columbus been one degree cooler last Friday, I would have lost by 0.7 points. For the award last year, the margin was only 0.2 points."
This is the third individual city award for Büker. He also placed third overall among meteorology faculty for the entire year (for all 10 cities) in 2016. Several WIU meteorology students have also placed in the competition since Büker joined the WIU faculty in 2009.
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